Right nutrition of masses is both an index and outcome of development of a nation. Poverty, as per one of its most basic and poignant definitions, is lack of resources to acquire enough calories for daily nourishing requirements. Further, Nutrition as a science is contemplated as a growing body of systematically arranged facts about the consumption and utilization of food by the people. Nutrition, in an another context, as a process, is considered as the everyday fuelling or supplying the living body with the substances needed for its growth, maintenance and healthy physiological functioning.

Thus mandate for the science of Nutrition as a truly applied science that nurture nourishment, health and longevity could be realized if the basic facts of nutrition as a science are communicated, comprehended and put to use for bettering the nutritional status of individuals resulting in well nourished and healthy masses. However, this is no less arduous task, far easier said than done. For instance the decade old ‘Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO’s) clarion call’ for ‘Getting the Best from your Food’ communication wrested on making masses paying heed to their nutrition for staying healthy and fit.

However, the laudable initiative got stymied for want of effective delivery to the targeted masses in many countries including our own. Take another message, for re-emphasis on food safety which calls upon a robust two pronged action; 1– keep hot food hot and cold food cold, 2- When in doubt, throw the food out; has never met with the attention and importance it deserved for communication. Likewise, a message underscoring the role of nutrition in pregnancy and exclusive breast feeding in infancy makes out two causes for oft observed and invariably irreversible mental insufficiency of infants; (1) Mother’s malnutrition during pregnancy, (2) Infant’s malnutrition during first six months, have never been made to go down well with the masses. NFHS III (2005-06) figures of astronomically high maternal mortality and morbidity in India (MMR–254 vis-a- vis ≤ 10 of developing countries) and abysmally low percentage of exclusive breast feeding. (51% at 2-3 and 28% at 4-5 months of age) stare us straight in the face. Infact, there is a pressing need to beam the exclusive breast feeding till 6 months message to the mothers as well as other household members who often hold views different from this so as to create an enabling environment for change.

Suffice to say, the reason for the emergence of twin India in Indian polity; one poor and the other affluent, with both bearing the brunt of lopsided nutrition as deficiency or excess nourishment has been lack of imaginative communication strategies, awareness generating programs along with poverty alleviation endeavors. For, if a trend in lackadaisical communication of Nutrition science continues unabated, it could well become Food for Heedlessness and Recipe for disaster. Thus it is worthwhile to discuss Nutrition Communication in a bid to make effective, imaginative strategies for it.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Making ‘ science of nutrition’ ‘ food for thought’ and ‘ recipe for development’ of masses through resourceful communication

Sheel Sharma   Food science & Nutrition, Banasthali University

Right nutrition of masses is both an index and outcome of development of a nation. Poverty, as per one of its most basic and poignant definitions, is lack of resources to acquire enough calories for daily nourishing requirements. Further, Nutrition as a science is contemplated as a growing body of systematically arranged facts about the consumption and utilization of food by the people. Nutrition, in an another context, as a process, is considered as the everyday fuelling or supplying the living body with the substances needed for its growth, maintenance and healthy physiological functioning.

Thus mandate for the science of Nutrition as a truly applied science that nurture nourishment, health and longevity could be realized if the basic facts of nutrition as a science are communicated, comprehended and put to use for bettering the nutritional status of individuals resulting in well nourished and healthy masses. However, this is no less arduous task, far easier said than done. For instance the decade old ‘Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO’s) clarion call’ for ‘Getting the Best from your Food’ communication wrested on making masses paying heed to their nutrition for staying healthy and fit.

However, the laudable initiative got stymied for want of effective delivery to the targeted masses in many countries including our own. Take another message, for re-emphasis on food safety which calls upon a robust two pronged action; 1– keep hot food hot and cold food cold, 2- When in doubt, throw the food out; has never met with the attention and importance it deserved for communication. Likewise, a message underscoring the role of nutrition in pregnancy and exclusive breast feeding in infancy makes out two causes for oft observed and invariably irreversible mental insufficiency of infants; (1) Mother’s malnutrition during pregnancy, (2) Infant’s malnutrition during first six months, have never been made to go down well with the masses. NFHS III (2005-06) figures of astronomically high maternal mortality and morbidity in India (MMR–254 vis-a- vis ≤ 10 of developing countries) and abysmally low percentage of exclusive breast feeding. (51% at 2-3 and 28% at 4-5 months of age) stare us straight in the face. Infact, there is a pressing need to beam the exclusive breast feeding till 6 months message to the mothers as well as other household members who often hold views different from this so as to create an enabling environment for change.

Suffice to say, the reason for the emergence of twin India in Indian polity; one poor and the other affluent, with both bearing the brunt of lopsided nutrition as deficiency or excess nourishment has been lack of imaginative communication strategies, awareness generating programs along with poverty alleviation endeavors. For, if a trend in lackadaisical communication of Nutrition science continues unabated, it could well become Food for Heedlessness and Recipe for disaster. Thus it is worthwhile to discuss Nutrition Communication in a bid to make effective, imaginative strategies for it.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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