Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Union Health and Family Ministry proposes to introduce health as a subject in schools to create awareness among youngsters about hygienic food habits.

The matter is being discussed with the Union Human Resource Development Ministry, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said here on Thursday.

Inaugurating a two-day National Workshop on `Recent Advances in Nutrition, Micronutrient Deficiency, Diet-related Chronic Non-Communicable Disorders and Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles', he said these classes could be bi-weekly, but should be mandatory and address lifestyle-related diseases. Dr. Ramadoss said he had written to Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of all States about educating children on the hazards of eating junk food. He also suggested that aerated drinks, with or without pesticides, were harmful for health and should be avoided.

"Chronic and lifestyle diseases are the focus of the Ministry for the coming 30 to 40 years. India is the capital of diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and is on the verge of becoming the cancer and mental disorder capital too."

Children are too busy watching television and have no time for physical exercises, he added.