Youth Health Mela offers them many useful tips

If a few ounces of water can tell you whether sugar has been adulterated with powdered chalk, hydrochloric acid solution can reveal whether the coffee powder has been spiked with tamarind particles while a little washing soda can do the trick when it comes to determining the authenticity of jaggery.

Youngsters who turned up at the launch of the five-day Youth Health Mela, which began at Valluvar Kottam on Wednesday, could walk away with a range of useful ‘do-it-yourself' tips such as these from the stall set up by Guru Nanak College.

The exhibition, which is one of the key draws of the event, reflects the focus areas of substance abuse, diet and nutrition, exercise and fitness and personal and environmental hygiene.

Volunteers at the section of Sri Venkateshwara Dental College will vouch for curry leaves being the best anti-oxidant and the potency of curcumin, which can even block replication of the HIV and explain how junk diets can bring on dental caries and diabetes but also affect general health.

Would you like to be ‘cool' or a ‘fool', a banner asks of visitors at the adjoining stall where volunteers set about demonstrating the corroding effect of aerated beverages on the human tooth.

Highlighting the loopholes in the implementation of the Control of Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) was the mission of students from Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, who exposed the ambiguity in the pictorial signs on a few paan samples while volunteers from Government Yoga Naturopathy College upheld the Hippocrates axiom that food should be thy medicine and not the other way around; the diet, they said, was a powerful weapon in preventing and controlling disorders such as anaemia, diabetes and obesity.

Quite a few stalls catered to the fitness and ergonomics freaks while over at the Greenpeace cubicle, a banner apparently addressing the rebel within urged the youth to “Be a Superhero; Say “No” to GM Foods and BRAI Bill.”

Earlier, inaugurating the youth health mela, V. Shanta, Chairperson, Adyar Cancer Institute, the lead organiser of the event, said the mela was, far from being a jamboree, a serious initiative to wean away youth from harmful habits. Urging the youth to be more aware of the two-pronged threat from Non Communicable Diseases and the resurgence of communicable diseases, Dr. Shanta said many of these diseases were preventable.

Dr. Shanta, who identified tobacco as the chief villain behind most maladies, said youth support was vital in rooting out tobacco and other forms of substance abuse from society.

In his presidential address, Justice K.N. Basha, Madras High Court Judge, said the youth had a key role to play in bringing about social transformation. Calling for change to begin at home, he urged the youth to become change agents in their households and community.

Santha Sheela Nair, Vice Chairperson, State Planning Commission, said the 12 Plan laid emphasis on putting in place systems to realise the State's goal of health for all.

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A dose of good healthFebruary 29, 2012