Mains Practice Question


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What are Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)? What are the National Institute of Nutrition’s (NIN) guidelines for children and mothers?

A Simple Introduction about Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also referred to as chronic diseases, are long-lasting conditions resulting from a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The most prevalent NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and strokes), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), and diabetes. NCDs are responsible for the deaths of 41 million people annually, making up 74% of all deaths globally.

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Dietary Guidelines and Health Recommendations

General Health

  •  Poor diets contribute to approximately 56.4% of India’s total illness burden.
  •  Adopting a healthy diet and regular physical activity can prevent 80% of Type 2 diabetes cases and significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad, part of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has issued guidelines recommending the reduction of salt and highly processed food consumption.

For Children and Mothers

  • Optimal nutrition for mothers and children from conception to age two is crucial for proper growth and development. It helps prevent all forms of malnutrition, including deficiencies and obesity.
  • The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2019 reports high rates of lifestyle-related issues among children, with about 5% of those aged 5 to 9 and 6% of adolescents being overweight or obese. Nearly 2% of children and adolescents have diabetes, and another 10% have pre-diabetes.
  • The survey found high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) in 37.3% of children aged 5 to 9, and 19.9% of those aged 10 to 19. One-fourth of all children and adolescents had low levels of healthy cholesterol.
  • Pregnant women experiencing nausea and vomiting should eat small, frequent meals. The guidelines recommend consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in iron and folate.
  • For infants and children, exclusive breastfeeding is advised for the first six months, with no need for honey, glucose, diluted milk, or even water, regardless of the season. After six months, complementary foods should be introduced.
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Micronutrient deficiencies (zinc, iron, and vitamins) affect 13% to 30% of children aged 1 to 19. The recommended diet charts address both these deficiencies and overnutrition disorders. Severe undernutrition like marasmus and kwashiorkor has been eradicated, but anaemia remains prevalent: 40.6% in infants under five, 23.5% in children aged 5 to 9, and 28.4% in children aged 10 to 19.


Other Points to Consider 


Previous Year Questions

1. What do you understand by nanotechnology and how is it helping in health sector? (2020)
2. Can overuse and free availability of antibiotics without Doctor’s prescription, be contributors to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically discuss the various issues involved. (2014)


21-May 2024