Indian Academy of Pediatrics comes out with guidelines, recommends ban on ‘JUNCS’ food advertisement
Geetanjali Minhas | August 19, 2019 | Mumbai
As children are consuming more and more fast foods and sweetened beverages are becoming, leading to obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has come out with guidelines on such substances.
The dietary guidelines under its nutrition chapter, The Pediatrics and Adolescent Nutrition, have been acronymed ‘JUNCS’ – junk food, ultra-processed food, nutritionally inappropriate foods, caffeinated/coloured/carbonated beverages, sugar-sweetened beverages – and relate to a wide variety of concepts related to unhealthy food for their fat, sugar and salt content, harmful non-nutritional substances or ultra-processed foods and findings that consumption of these foods and beverages is associated with free sugar and energy intake, higher body mass index and risk adverse cardio metabolic consequences in children and adolescents.
The major adverse effects related to the intake of fruit juice and fast foods are obesity and its associated complications like dental caries, allergies, micro-organism contamination leading to infections and risk of cancer due to carcinogenic and allergenic properties of some food additives.
These IAP guidelines are for children and adolescents aged 6 months through 18 years, limited to dietary interventions and formulated primarily for the purpose of prevention of chronic NCDs including obesity and metabolic syndrome. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life. No fruit juices and drinks should be fed to infants and young children less than 2 years age.
For children aged between 2-5 years and between 5-18 years, the guidelines recommend restricted intake limited to 125 ml/day and 250 ml/day respectively. Other recommendations include no caffeinated energy drinks, ban on sale of JUNCS foods in school canteens and within 200 metres of vicinity, easy availability of healthy, affordable snacks and safe and potable drinking water in schools. The recommendations advise against consumption of JUNCS by all children to the maximum and not more than one serving per week.
Further, the guidelines call for traffic-light coding of food available in school canteens, legal ban on screen, print and digital advertisements of all the JUNCS foods through various mediums like channels, magazines, websites and social media along with promotion of communication, marketing, policy and taxation strategies to promote consumption of healthy foods and limit availability and consumption of these foods.
Recommending regular physical activity along with healthy diets as per WHO recommendations the guidelines also say that intake of caffeinated drinks may be associated with cardiac and sleep and recommends consumption of freshly cooked home food with minimal sugars, no trans fats, consumption of water over fruit juices, regional and seasonal whole fruits over fruit juices in children and adolescents.
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