What is National Nutrition Week?   

National Nutrition Week is an annual nutrition event observed throughout the country during the first week of September (i.e. from 1st September till 7th September). It was launched in 1982 by the Food and Nutrition Board, under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. The primary objective of National Nutrition Week is to spread awareness among masses about the importance of healthy eating habits and well-balanced diets for maintaining a healthy body. Each year Nutrition Week is organised with a special theme. The theme for this year’s nutrition week is “Har Ghar PoshanVyavahar”. The theme encompasses five domains: care during 1000 days, personal hygiene, anemia mukt bharat, awareness on poshtik aahar and diarrhoea control.   

Why is it organised?

Undernutrition remains a major problem in India affecting a large section of the population. On one hand, there is widespread undernutrition in the form of stunting, wasting, underweight and micronutrient deficiencies. And on the other hand, there is increasing burden of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, overweight and obesity and cancer. A well-balanced nutritious diet, rich in macro and micronutrients is essential for all the age groups to carry out normal body functions and maintain an optimal health. However, lack of knowledge among masses about the importance of eating a well-balanced diet and ways of achieving it within limited means affects their nutritional status.  

Malnutrition not only affects the health status of an individual but also affects national productivity, economic growth and development. Therefore, in order to improve the nutritional status of population, the National Nutrition Week is organised to spread awareness about right and healthy eating choices through various platforms using mass media.

Activities undertaken during the National Nutrition Week

Various activities are organised during the National Nutrition Week all over the country to generate awareness among people about the importance of healthy diets, ways of achieving it in and its relationship to health and disease. The Food and Nutrition Board through its 43 Community Food and Nutrition Extension Units (CFNEUs) organises workshops, camps, training sessions, community meetings, lectures, films and exhibitions in collaboration with concerned departments of the State Governments, educational and health institutions and non-governmental organisations. Various other activities organised during this week include nutrition quiz, puppet shows, poster making and essay writing competitions, exhibitions, demonstration of healthy recipes and nutrition rally. These activities not only aim at improving the knowledge of people but also aim at enhancing their nutrition related skills and practices. Their primary focus revolves around nutrition and health topics such as immunisation, hygiene and sanitation, infant and young child feeding practices, ways of consuming a well-balanced diet and ways of conserving nutrients during cooking process.    

Activities organised by FHTS during National Nutrition Week

Foundation of Healthcare Technologies Societies (FHTS) conducted various activities and organised health camps in Delhi as part of the National Nutrition Week on three days at different locations: school, Anganwadi centre and old age home. Camps were organised with the objective of spreading awareness about health and nutrition related topics such as balanced diets, oral hygiene, exercise, menstrual hygiene and geriatric nutrition. 

Nutrition Week: Health awareness camp – Day 1

Venue: Adarsh Vidhya Niketan Public School

Date: 2nd September 2019

Objective: To impart knowledge to children about importance of good nutrition, ways of eating a healthy diet, 

maintaining personal hygiene and oral health. 

Details of the session: A one hour session was conducted by FHTS team with nearly 100 students belonging to 7th and 8th standard. In the first part of the session, students were oriented about the mission and objectives of FHTS and various activities conducted by the organisation. Thereafter, the concept of nutrition and its importance during the adolescent period was discussed with the students. They were briefed about balanced diet and ways of achieving it through poem recitation and an interactive session. Good eating habits such importance of breakfast, avoiding junk food and over-eating, importance of physical activity, ways of increasing iron in diets to prevent anemia and healthy snacking options were discussed with them.    

In the next part of the session, ways of maintaining personal hygiene were discussed. A poster was used to demonstrate good personal hygiene habits such as brushing of teeth, combing of hair, daily bathing, washing of hands and cutting of nails. In the last part of the session, students were briefed about ways of maintain oral health including importance of brushing teeth, steps involved in ensuring proper brushing of teeth and ways of preventing dental caries. 

In the next part of the session, ways of maintaining personal hygiene were discussed. A poster was used to demonstrate good personal hygiene habits such as brushing of teeth, combing of hair, daily bathing, washing of hands and cutting of nails. In the last part of the session, students were briefed about ways of maintain oral health including importance of brushing teeth, steps involved in ensuring proper brushing of teeth and ways of preventing dental caries. 

A poster making competition was also organised by FHTS for the students on the topic “Eat Right and Be Fit”. Towards the end of the session, prizes were distributed to the students who secured positions during the poster making competition. Mementos were given to the coordinator and the principal of the school to appreciate their participation. 

Nutrition Week: Health awareness camp – Day 2

Venue: Anganwadi Center, Rohini, Delhi

Date: 3rd September, 2019

Agenda: To impart knowledge to the pregnant and nursing mothers about diet during this period, personal hygiene, breastfeeding and menstrual hygiene. 

Details of the session: A session of 90 minutes was conducted with 20 lactating women and 6 pregnant women at the Anganwadi center. The session commenced with briefing the participants about FHTS and its work along with importance of National Nutrition Month. Importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and colostrum were discussed with the mothers followed by ways of ensuring dietary adequacy during the periods of pregnancy and lactation.

Various ways of increasing dietary diversity, improving meal pattern and enhancing nutritional quality of diet to prevent micronutrient deficiencies were discussed. 

The next part of the session focused on pregnant women wherein the importance of antenatal care, consumption of Iron-Folic acid and calcium tablets, dietary diversity and various food sources rich in several micronutrients including iron, calcium and vitamin A were discussed. A sample menu of daily diet for pregnant women was also shared with them. They were briefed about ways of ensuring personal hygiene and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Various exercises beneficial for pregnant women were also demonstrated.  

Towards the end of the session, mementos were given to the Anganwadi workers and helpers to boost their participation and hard work. A small token of appreciation in the form of stationaries were also given to the women and toddlers for their participation. 

Nutrition Week: Health awareness camp – Day 3

Venue: Anugraha: NGO for elderly

Date: 4th September 2019 

Objective: To impart nutrition knowledge to elderly people  

Details of the session: The day’s session was divided in two parts. Session 1 was used to impart knowledge to the participants whereas in the second session, Swasthya Pahal camp was organised for the participants. A total of 92 people aged 58-78 years participated during the sessions. During the first session participants were briefed about FHTS and its work and the purpose of National Nutrition Month.

This was followed by an interactive session on the process of ageing, nutritional requirements for elderly, rich sources of various micronutrients, good dietary habits, importance of physical activity and ways of managing non-communicable diseases. Participants motivated each other by discussing their stories as to how they dealt with depression and nutrition related problems. 

In the second session, during the health camp, various information was collected from the participants including their height, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, physical activity pattern, alcohol consumption and smoking pattern, consumption of medication etc. Individual diet related counselling was also imparted to the participants as part of the health camp. 

About the Author
I am Alka sangar. I am pursuing MSW from IGNOU. Prior to this I have done my Btech in biotechnology from KURUKSHETRA UNIVERSITY. I love reading motivational and inspirational books. I love doing acting for social cause like street plays...
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