All the colleges and higher education institutions affiliated to the University Grants Commission (UGC) have been asked to take measures to avoid junk food on their campuses and to sensitise students against consumption of the same. A letter regarding the same has been issued which states, “Banning junk food in colleges would set new standards for healthy food and make the students live better, and learn better and also reduce the obesity levels in young learners, thus preventing lifestyle diseases which have a direct link with excessive weight”.
Advise has also been given to conduct orientation programs for faculty and staff on issues pertaining to health. It was also suggested that ‘wellness clusters’ under Students Welfare Departments should be set up of which could serve as counselling centres for proper nutrition and exercise and healthy habits, as well as psychological support to prevent and reduce the incidence of obesity in young students.
The circular was issued after a directive from the HRD ministry, asking the UGC to ban the sale of junk food on premises of higher education institutions.
“You are requested to ensure strict adherence to the advisory. Create awareness among the younger generation who are vulnerable,” it added.
At the same time, schools were also asked to inspect lunch boxes of students, create awareness about nutritious food and regularly monitor students’ health. The circular was released following a report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on consumption of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) and promotion of healthy snacks in schools.