The role of traditional food in meeting nutritional requirements was highlighted by Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan at the inauguration of the two-day “Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey: Regional Data Workshop” at the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) on Wednesday.
Researchers, clinicians and public health professionals from southern states met at the workshop to analyse the data generated through a survey that assessed the magnitude of micro nutrient deficiencies among children and adolescents and risk factors associated with it.
Addressing researchers, Dr. Soundararajan spoke about malnourishment among women and children, misconceptions that lead people not to utilise government schemes to address issues like anaemia, and discrimination against girl child, among others.
Recalling her experience as a house surgeon, Dr. Soundarajan, who is a gynaecologist herself, said that some women threw away iron tablets (of dark colour) assuming that their children would be born dark.
“I used to tell them I am dark too and even if they have dark kids, they will be intelligent,” she said, adding that besides a scientific approach, social issues need to be identified and resolved.
The Governor spoke on malnourishment among children and women even in this era of development.
Explaining the scope and objective of the workshop, Robert Johnston from UNICEF, India, said that it was the time for Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) data that will contribute to policies. “Go through the data, and develop a good understanding of what it includes, its strengths and weaknesses,” he said.
He added that CNNS is cutting-edge research as no previous studies had collected states’ and national level representative data on micro nutrient deficiency from zero to 19 years age range.
Sessions on explaining the data, methods of analysing it, writing papers from CNNS data, how it can be used to find solutions to issues specific to states, and other aspects were organised at the workshop, supported by NIN, Population Council and UNICEF, India.