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Need for Implementation of Food Based Dietary Guidelines, By. Sunil Jhangiani, M.D., MBA, FACP

Thursday, December 25, 2008
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...These guidelines are developed such that they are relevant to public health issues, culturally appropriate and based upon food availability patterns. Each country comes up with one set of guidelines for the entire nation and a single food guide symbol or image that captures all the key points.

Experts in the field of nutrition, public health, education and food science who develop and implement these have to struggle with the challenge of providing one set of guidelines for an entire nation, applying the same guidelines to all age groups and even having to confront the reality that there are diverse populations in almost every country.

As the year 2007 sets upon us, the biggest global public health concern that emerged this year was that for the first time we have more overweight and obese people in the world than we have underweight or hungry people. Therefore, today, FBDG ought to consider optimal dietary intake for underweight, normal weight and overweight individuals. The 2005, MyPyramid.com developed by the U.S.D.A for Americans does address the issue of caloric intake based on age, gender, body weight and calories expended. However, its sole reliance on having broadband connection limits its widespread use by the public. What does one do in a country like India where 4 of 10 adults in metropolitan areas are overweight or obese and yet at the same time India has 57 million of the 146 million malnourished kids globally? India is currently gearing up to come up with a new set of guidelines that will address this and many other difficult issues in a country of 1.1 billion people where 65% of the population lives in the villages.

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