Monday, September 28, 2009


Day in and day out we hear the monotonous claims by health pundits that eating wholesome foods is more 'profitable' in the long run, though junk foods, rich in calories, fat and sugar give 'immediate' benefit by way of sensory satisfaction. A drug addict is unlikely to concede the point that drug abuse can be dangerous in the long run and on same analogy a calorie-dense food addict also may have similar mindset. It is a paradox that good foods such as whole grain based, fresh fruits and vegetables, pulses and nuts cost much more than processed foods rich in sugar and fat. Probably the very survival of food industry is linked to this distortion in market place!

Linking bad and indifferent foods to diseases like CVD has to be drilled into the minds of the consumers, especially youngsters through vivid messages. Here is an example. "There is no denying that diets based on fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, "good" fats and lean animal protein are diets that infer "good health." And guess what? Your health is worth the investment. Pay for it now, as in, buy "quality" food, or pay for it later, as in, "pay for your angioplasty" — your call".

The mundane question is who will do the 'messaging' and at what costs? With a majority of the citizens covered under health insurance, Americans may be slow to respond but in India where hospitalization cost is becoming astronomical, such messages may still have some impact. Where does one start? Of course at the kindergartens and primary schools where children, at the most impressionable ages of their life, congregate for 'learning', either voluntarily or through government incentives.

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