COVID-19 pandemic renewed focus on nutrition, health, immunity: Harsh Vardhan


Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday presided over an event to celebrate `World Food Day`. 

The event was organized by FSSAI.

According to an official release, this year`s theme is Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare joined the programme through video conference.

Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that due to the unprecedented challenges faced by the world on account of the pandemic, there has been a renewed focus on food, nutrition, health, immunity and sustainability.

“FSSAI`s Eat Right India movement targets to promote safe and healthy food for everyone in an environmentally sustainable way. It is a part of its mandate to provide safe and wholesome food for all citizens. This will improve the food safety ecosystems and lift the hygiene and health of our citizens,” said Vardhan.

A key focus this year is the elimination of Trans Fats from the food supply chain. A food toxin present in Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (PHVOs) (e.g. vanaspati, shortening, margarine, etc.), baked and fried foods, Trans Fat is a major contributor to the rise in non-communicable diseases in India.

“Trans fat is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Eliminating CVD risk factor is especially relevant during COVID-19 as people with CVD are predisposed to have serious conditions having an impact on mortality,” Vardhan stated.

He reminded everyone of the government`s effort to make India Trans Fat free by 2022, a year ahead of WHO`s the target, in synergy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s vision of a New India on 75 years of the country`s independence.

Reiterating the game-changing potential of `Eat Right India` and `Fit India Movement`, Vardhan said, “These two movements along with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission and other efforts of the Environment Ministry will improve the health of Indians and heal the environment.”

He launched the Eat Right Creativity Challenge for schools which is a poster and photography competition and aims to promote healthy dietary habits. 

He also launched the `Eat Smart City` (challenge) by FSSAI in partnership with Smart City Mission and The Food Foundation,UK which will create an environment of right food practices and habits in India`s smart cities and can set an example for other cities to follow.

Vardhan launched a number of books/guidelines on the occasion.Meanwhile, the Union Health Minister also chaired a meeting with the Department of Science and Technology, and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, through video conferencing. 


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