Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nutrition Quotient-A new tool for empowerment of mothers?

Awareness about quality, nutrition and safety of food eaten every day can be very reassuring for a house wife when it comes to managing a house hold with growing children and aged seniors. Media sources do offer a variety of information on food but often some of them are contradictory putting us in great doubt about our knowledge in this area. So is the Internet source where contradictions are galore on every aspect of food. Now comes a new source of information via the Internet that can be accessed by every aspiring mother for testing her knowledge about food and update the same constantly. Information is a "power" that if understood properly and used effectively can empower women who take great care in bringing up a family. The new tool of assessing the knowledge about food, christened as Nutrition Quotient (NQ) is designed by as alliance of Indian Dietetic Association, Indian Medical Association, All India Institute of Medical Sciences with the food industry. As a voluntary education program this is most apt for willing mothers and others interested in upgrading their food information base through interaction with experts on the Internet. Here is a report on this interesting initiative which is timely and appropriate.

"Tetra Pak recently launched the Right to Keep Food Safe initiative in Jaipur, as part of which, a seminar was held for mothers to equip them with information to make important decisions related to food safety and health. Present here was actress Aditi Govitrikar, who said, "As a mother, I need to become more aware about good nutrition and safe food habits. I congratulate Tetra Pak's efforts and recommend every mother be part of the Right to Keep Food Safe initiative." The mothers present at the seminar were shown the Nutrition Quotient (NQ) website - a first-of-its-kind online programme on food safety, nutrition and packaging developed by experts from the Indian Medical Association, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Dietetics Association and National Dairy Research Institute. Mothers can log on to the website ( and test their own nutrition quotient.  Diet consultant and nutritionist Ritika Samaddar said, "Mothers know that it's important to provide nutritious food. But rising incidents of adulteration and lack of proper understanding justify the need for access to better information. I am certain these initiatives will go a long way in doing just that."  Tetra Pak South Asia Markets communications director Jaideep Gokhale said, "Our vision is to make food safe and available everywhere for everyone, through our aseptic processing and packaging technology. As a responsible industry player, we are proud to launch the Right to Keep Food Safe initiative and the NQ programme so that mothers become more aware and make safer and healthier choices for their families."

Nutrition and health are closely inter related and even among experts there is no unanimity on certain areas of this subject. Both Tetra Pak and Nestle are giant food industries selling machinery and a variety of branded products all over the world. Their involvement may prima facie raise some doubts regarding the reliability and truthfulness of NQ assessment besides their motives in supporting such an initiative. But linking with government and quasi government agencies in developing this concept may, to some extent, lend respectability to the program. A better informed mother can be more effective in checking food industry and food service industry from producing and marketing unhealthy foods. A well informed mother can also be a source of enlightenment to the household as far as hygiene, sanitation and safe eating practices are concerned. 


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