Hyderabad, September 15

Providing nutrition during first 1000 days accelerates mental development and good physical growth of a baby, said Dr. G.M. Subba Rao, Scientist of ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad. Delivering the key-note address in a Webinar on “Balancing the diet to balance nutrition”, organised by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and the Regional Outreach Bureau (ROB) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, Hyderabad, today.

The first 270 days in the life of a baby while in the womb and the next two years after birth are very crucial in the life of a baby. During this period mother and child need to be given very balanced and nutritious diet as this ensures immunity. About 30 to 40 percent women who conceive often suffer from deficiencies of micro nutrients such as B12, Iron, Folic acid and hence it is essential to take diversified food during pre and post pregnancy, said Mr. Subba Rao. He said every one kilogram increase in the weight of a pregnant woman will increase birth weight of the baby by 52 grams.

Ensuring that the new-born baby is fed with breast milk within the first hour after birth gives it the essential nutrients to build up strong immunity, he said. Further breastfeeding for first six months promotes cognitive and sensitive development and renders maximum protection to babies against infectious diseases. Explaining about the nutritious food that need to be taken for a healthy life, Dr. Subba Rao said that quality, quantity and frequency of meal are very important. A healthy diet should include fresh fruits, vegetable, nuts and healthy fats. He said everybody should take 350 grams of vegetables and 150 grams of fruits daily and salt intake should be restricted to below five grams and sugar to two or three tea spoons. Food items should be stored in a fridge at less than five degrees Celsius temperature. Clearing various misconceptions on food, Dr. Subba Rao said too much of rinsing rice in water before cooking will lead to loss of nutrients in the rice. He recommended to include two –three varieties of edible oils for cooking.

Delivering the inaugural address, Smt. Shruti Patil, Director, PIB & ROB, said the webinar was organised as the month of September is being observed as Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month) by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt of India. Recalling that the Poshan Abhiyaan was launched in March 2018 by the Prime Minister as a flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers aiming for Holistic Nutrition, she said that the webinar was an effort in terms of outreach. The Officers and staff of various media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, Department of Women Development and Child Welfare, Govt of Telangana including more than 100 Anganwadi teachers and other field functionaries participated in the webinar.