Governor of Andhra Pradesh E. S. L. Narasimhan here on Thursday felt that policy makers should rethink their strategy in doling out subsidies on food grains like rice. The Governor pointed out that instead of giving huge subsidies on just rice, public should be given access to a holistic nutritional package that would be affordable and would meet all their nutritional requirements.

Addressing nutritional experts from across India in the national conference of Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) at National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), the Governor said that an overall nutritional package consisting of all essential nutrients would lead to a healthy population and a healthy economy.

“Nutritionists have to popularise the concept of what actually constitutes a healthy diet? For example, nutritionists advise us to consume proteins, carbohydrates and fats in proportions of grams. They should understand that we eat to satiate our hunger. How will you satiate hunger if you are on a diet,” the Governor pointed out.

Healthy living

“An ageing but largely ill population is a burden on our economy. The nutritionists have to provide us with solutions for a happy and healthy living instead of aiming to live a 100 years,” the Governor felt.

The president of IDA, Rekha Sharma, said there was an urgent need to set up a Nutrition and Dietetic Council in India to regulate the sector.

“There is a need to standardise nutritional courses to bring uniformity in India. There is an increase in the number of unqualified dieticians and nutritionists who are putting public’s health at risk. Such a council will provide an opportunity for Indian nutritionists to practice abroad,” she said.

Other experts felt the need to produce more nutritionists in India.

“In Japan, for a lakh population, there are 56 nutritional experts. In India, it is less than one. Due to this, the life expectancy of Japanese is higher than Indians,” experts said.

IDA members said India would be having close to 70 million diabetics by 2025, which would be the largest in the World.

“With such a huge burden of diabetes, nutritionists will play an important role in future,” IDA president, Rekha Sharma said.