The rising use of junk food in Kashmir is leading to negative consequences on the health and well-being of all the people who consume it, especially children.
Be it chips or juice or cold drink, junk food has emerged to be the number one choice of children in Kashmir for the last two decades, giving rise to multiple complications and eating into the healthy diet of children in the valley .
Famous microbiologist Dr. Michael F. Jacobson coined the phrase “Junk Food” in 1972 to describe unhealthy or non-nutritious food.
The precise definition of junk food has varied over time. Some high-protein foods, like meat prepared with saturated fat , may be considered junk food. Fast Food and fast food restaurants are often equated with junk food, although fast foods cannot be categorically described as junk food. Most junk food is highly processed food.
Grim Realities Related To Junk Food
A survey has pin pointed to grim realities related to the use of Junk Food. 56% of Indian parents believe packaged food advertisements targeting kids are driving increased consumption of junk food by their children, a survey by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, has revealed. Nearly 92% want government rules that prohibit brands from targeting children via advertisements of packaged foods, it added.
The survey comes as we marked Children’s Day across the country.
In Kashmir, children and youth of Kashmir are particularly addicted to this array of food. Since this form of food is always available in ready to eat form, it is drawing much notice from the carefree section of the society. Globally, junk food has found appeal among people who don’t have time and prefer having food on the run, or others who like the flavour and novelty of junk food.
The buyers of junk food in Kashmir are part of the second category. For them, the issue is not lack of time. The issue is the novelty of these food items.
Common masses are worried about these changing negative trends in our society in the form of escalating use of Junk Food.
Fashionable Due To Western Appeal
Ajaz Ahmad, a commoner, while talking to The Heaven Mail said, “Junk foods are becoming much in fashion among our children due to their western appeal. The youth or children think that by eating junk food, they are part of the ‘with it’ crowd.
Such food has multiple negative impacts on the health of our kids. We need to launch impressive awareness program to keep our youth and children familiar with the ills of junk food. It contains little or zero nourishing value to the diet – too much unnecessary calories and fat which are ineffective and often damaging to human health. We should without delay shift to healthier forms of diet so that we can lead a healthy life. Some countries in the West have virtually thrown out the junk food from their restaurants and stores.
Heavy Use Of Junk Food Can Lead to Obesity
One of the defining hazardous impacts of junk food is that it leads to obesity among children.
The expert pulse is that junk foods, on one hand lack nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and on the other hand contain excessive sugar, calories, and fats. Thus the food contributes to weight gain and obesity.
Some time back a report from Nestle, the largest food company in the world, revealed that more than 60 per cent of its food and beverage products are unhealthy. Nestle is the producer and distributor of instant noodles, chocolates, dairy, coffee, etc. Maggi, Nestle’s instant noodle, originated in Switzerland and was brought to India in 1983. Since then, Maggi has made its place in the heart of urban India due to the convenience in cooking it, and the variety of flavour.
Admn Must Launch Awareness Campaigns Against Junk Food
People in Kashmir are also hoping that Administration will take all the necessary measures to launch awareness campaigns to keep our younger generation away from the perils of junk food. Unhealthy food is truly a hydra headed monster for our society. From heart problems to diabetes, junk food contributes to multiple health issues. Parents need to become role models and set an example by making healthy food choices.
The Union Women and Child Development Ministry has suggested that junk food ads should not be aired during children’s programmes. In the metros, a large number of progressive schools have banned junk food in the canteens.
No junk food should be available in or around schools. Mandatory government controls are required as successfully done in other parts of the world to minimize the use of junk food.
The Jammu and Kashmir Administration must take the required measures to ensure that the use of junk food by children and youth is minimized.