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One Man's Stand Against Junk Food as Diabetes Climbs Across India

 6 months ago       161 Views

He filed the public interest lawsuit in the Delhi High Court in 2010, seeking a ban on the sale of junk food and soft drinks in and around schools across India.

In the years since the court ordered the government to develop guidelines to regulate junk food, the case has encountered ferocious opposition from the All India Food Processors Association, which counts Coca-Cola India, PepsiCo India and Nestlé India as members, as well as hundreds of other companies.

It was overeating, not the food itself, that has caused the problem, he said, asking, “Do you eat two pizzas a day or two pizzas a week?” The government this year took a significant step that public health experts believe will help combat the rise of obesity in the world’s second most populous country.

But so far, the regulations to ban sales near schools sought by the court in Mr. Verma’s case have led to naught.

Mr. Verma, 42, quit his job as a corporate marketing executive after his son’s birth in 2006 and set up a foundation in 2007 to help families like his with sick children.

I’ve wasted my time,” he said, tears sliding down his face, as he bemoaned getting sidetracked from his foundation’s mission of helping poor, sick children at the giant public hospital where his son had been treated.

That set Dr. Yajnik, now head of diabetes at KEM Hospital Research Center in Pune, on a quest to understand if this was generally true for Indians — and if so, why.

Since 1990, the percent of India’s adult population with diabetes has surged to 7.7 percent — some 63 million people — from 5.5 percent.” Although obesity and overweight are far less prevalent in India (24 percent last year) than in Canada (about 60 percent), for example, adults there are just as likely to develop diabetes as in Canada, a New York Times analysis of data from the institute found.

Becoming a crusader against junk food was far from Mr. Verma’s mind as he and his wife battled to save their son, Uday, who was born with parts of his digestive system missing.

In early 2015, the food authority in the health ministry finally recommended regulations to the court, including some limitations on the sale of junk food around schools.


Author: @DailyCupofYoga

Source: nytimes.com