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Topic : Meeting nutrition challenge: What new guidelines prescribe

GS-2 Mains : Health

Revision Notes



National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) releases guidelines to address:

  • Rising non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease, diabetes and cancers, affecting all ages including adolescents and children.
  • Unhealthy diets – estimated to cause 56.4% of India’s disease burden.

Key Points:

  • Focus on mothers and children:
    • Optimal nutrition from conception to age 2 crucial for proper growth and development.
    • Can prevent undernutrition (micronutrient deficiencies) and obesity.
  • Childhood health concerns:
    • 2019 National Nutrition Survey shows high prevalence of lifestyle diseases in children:
      • 5% of children (5-9 years) and 6% of adolescents overweight or obese.
      • Almost 2% have diabetes and 10% pre-diabetes.
      • High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL/triglycerides) and low good cholesterol.
  • Dual burden of malnutrition:
    • Micronutrient deficiencies (zinc, iron, vitamins) in 13-30% of children (1-19 years).
    • Anaemia prevalence: 40.6% (under 5), 23.5% (5-9 years), 28.4% (10-19 years).
  • Shifting dietary patterns:
    • Increased affordability and accessibility of unhealthy processed foods (HFSS) high in fat, sugar and salt.
    • Contributes to micronutrient deficiencies, anaemia, and overweight/obesity.
  • General Principles:
    • Get nutrients from 8 food groups: vegetables, leafy greens, roots, dairy, nuts, oils.
    • Limit cereals (staple) to 45% of energy intake (down from 50-70%).
    • Increase protein intake (pulses, meat, fish) to 14% (up from 6-9%).
    • Vegetarians: consume flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts for PUFA and B12.
    • Limit salt intake to 5g per day.
    • Avoid highly processed foods (high fat, salt, sugar).

Group-Specific Guidelines:

    • Pregnant women: small frequent meals, fruits & vegetables rich in iron & folate.
    • Infants (0-6 months): exclusive breastfeeding, no water, honey, glucose, diluted milk.
    • Infants (6+ months): introduce complementary foods along with breastfeeding.
    • Elderly: focus on protein, calcium, fiber, micronutrients.
      • Consume:
        • Pulses & cereals (1/3 whole grains)
        • 200-400ml low-fat milk/milk products
        • Nuts & oilseeds (fistful)
        • 400-500g vegetables & fruits
      • Exercise for bone density & muscle mass.


  • Reduce consumption of salt and highly processed foods.
  • Promote healthy diets and physical activity.
  • Guidelines include ideal diet charts for various age groups considering micronutrient deficiencies and overnutrition diseases.

Source : https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-health/meeting-nutrition-challenge-what-new-guidelines-prescribe-9319195/

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