Youth Darpan November 16, 2017

This is when we need to wake up to the existence and prevalence of hidden hunger in the society. Hidden hunger is a lack of vitamins and minerals which are absolutely necessary to ensure we lead a healthy life. In fact, hidden hunger occurs when the quality of food people eat does not meet their nutrient requirements as it is deficient in micronutrients such as the vitamins and minerals that are needed for the physical and mental growth. Poor nutrition affects mental growth too.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has ensured it gives a well-balanced diet to school children in their mid-day meals. This is despite the fact that it has to meet the dietary needs of the different geographies where it supplies food to schoolchildren. The menu varies according to the staple food in the region. All this would lead to child empowerment in India and the Foundation has been playing a major part towards this since it started the mid-day meals in schools which today reaches over 1.6 million children every day. Children have a right to good food that’s well-balanced in terms of energy supply and growth of the body.

Extent of Malnourishment

Malnourishment is an issue that India faces on a very large scale. A huge percentage of children, both school-going and otherwise, end up being at the wrong side of the nutrition spectrum as indicated by India’s ranking in the Global Hunger Index released recently. Interestingly, this hidden hunger today seems ‘economic status agnostic’. Just because a child may have been born in a well-off family need not ensure that it is safe from hidden hunger. The trend today of children favouring packed ready-to-eat food (much of it junk food) means they may not be getting the right quantity of the micronutrients. Many of these foods may be rich in carbohydrates, but may lack many of the micronutrients necessary for a healthy being.

The right to food may be considered to be an integral part of the Fundamental Right of Right to Life. But, it is only a balanced diet that can ensure a child is happy. But, how can you ensure a child gets adequate supply of protein, the main ingredient in food that is responsible for body growth?

Legumes (the family to which lentils or dals belong) are very high in protein and are responsible for muscle growth. Some of the common options for adequate supply of protein which are easily accessible include beans, lentils and peas.

Let’s come together to ensure that we feed the children today so that they become responsible citizens of tomorrow. Donate today.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has launched a nation-wide movement Feed the Future Now to feed 5 billion meals to children by 2020. The campaign also aims to provide nutritious food to school children with a view to create a Nourished India, Educated India.
Ankush M is living in India. Ankush M is part of our authors community since August and has published First post.