An unhealthy diet is one of the major risk factors for obesity and a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity.
Childhood obesity epidemic has been growing for decades in countries throughout the world. India suffers from the dual burden of malnutrition. While under-nutrition remains a major threat to child survival in India, over-nutrition has also emerged as an important public health problem in the recent years.
Transition to unhealthy diets, which are energy-dense and high in fat, sugar and salt, and low in unrefined carbohydrates, is becoming increasingly common among all age groups in the country, especially in urban areas. Therefore, it demands a population-based, multisectoral, multi-disciplinary, and culturally relevant approach.
Reducing salt and sugar intake in food and replacing trans-fat with polyunsaturated fat are identified as few of the most cost-effective interventions (‘best buys’) in the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs. Government of India is one of the first countries to set national targets and develop an action plan for prevention and control of NCDs with 10 targets, including 30% relative reduction in mean population intake of salt/sodium as well as halting rise in diabetes and obesity.