The commission issued a circular asking for a ban on junk food and awareness drives for students
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked college pan India to issue instructions against junk food.
In a letter to vice-chancellors of all universities which was also available on its website, the UCG said that banning junk food would set new standards for healthy food and make the students live better. Earlier this year, the state of Punjab banned the sale of junk food in schools while Manipur, Orissa, Chandigarh and Madhya Pradesh put restrictions.
The UGC is a governing body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, responsible for giving funds for higher education.
UGC’s letter added that a ban on junk food will prevent lifestyle diseases that have a direct link with excessive weight. Asking universities to sensitise students on ill effects of junk food, it added that universities can serve as important data sources on student's health. Information on markers like body mass index and body weight percentage can make the students more aware about their own health.
The UGC added that staff and students should be oriented on health issues and proper nutrition.
Obesity in young people is a growing health problem worldwide, including India. It ranks 11th in child obesity (under 5 years) as per the global nutrition report 2016. The number of obese people has also doubled in the country in past 10 years. Obesity accounts for 80-85 per cent risk of type-2 diabetes. It has also been linked many heart diseases.
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