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Dietitians want K’taka to outdo Kerala, tax desi fatty food too


BENGALURU: The Kerala government’s ‘healthy step’ introducing 14.5 percent ‘fat tax’ on burgers, pizzas, doughnuts and sandwiches sold at quick delivery chains and branded restaurants has sparked debates on junk food culture across the country. Many nutritionists and dietitians here want Karnataka too follow suit.

“We wish Karnataka government takes up the initiative keeping in mind the public health scenario. It can partially reduce consumption of highly refined food. Not just some international products, many more high fat, high sugar and refined products should be taxed. The Kerala government’s move may bring about change in people’s eating habits and encourage a healthy trend. But it also looks like the government is only targeting certain brands which is not fare. In fact, many Indian food items like vada, namkeen, bajji, puri among others should also come under fat tax net,” said Sheela Krishnaswamy, president, Karnataka chapter of Indian Dietetic Association.

According to Priyamvadha Chandramouli, school nutritionist and founder of start-up Almanourisher, a child nutrition and wellness firm, kids’ eating pattern gets set at the age of 2-6. “I’ve worked with many schools in the city and noticed remarkable changes in children’s eating habits. Sometimes it’s peer pressure or societal changes that make children eat calorie-rich fast food. I suggest parents not to give refined food as a reward or bribe. Instead give a hug or tell a tale that can also be considered a reward. It’s only when parents make healthy changes in their own platter that the child acquires healthy eating habits,” she added.

Children’s increasing appetite for cupcakes and pastries is also not so good, said Priyamvadha who is of the opinion that fat tax should be imposed across India.

However, sources in the health department said it’s highly unlikely that Karnataka introduces fat tax as Kerala’s decision is seen a tax-drawing technique targeting middle and high income population, rather than a health initiative.

Age 10, weight 70
According to experts, excessive consumption of high calorie food is one of the reasons for increasing cases of Type 2 diabetes among children. Dr Anjana Hulse from Apollo Hospital said one of her patients is a 10-year-old boy, who weights over 70 kg, and is suffering from Type 2 Diabetes caused mainly due to lifestyle changes. “It’s only bad dietary habits and lack of exercise that pushed him to be insulin dependent at such a young age. In fact, childhood obesity is one of the reasons for girls attaining puberty at an early stage,” she added.

Source: TOI

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