There are more obese and diabetic children now than in the previous generations. In the past, people used to walk more and visit hospitals less often. Indians are disposed to heart disease, according to reports. This is, perhaps, linked to living habits and food.

S.K. Pattanayak, joint secretary, National Horticulture Mission, made these observations during his keynote address at a national seminar on "Organic spices and aromatic crops," which began in Kozhikode on Thursday. He was pointing to the need for going back to organic farming.

Mayor M. Bhaskaran, who inaugurated the seminar, said pesticides were sometimes sprayed three or four times on fruits such as grapes before they hit the market. He doubted if such grapes were safe to eat even after peeling off the skin. The demand for organic food could be turned into an advantage for farmers, especially in Wayanad district, he added.