Delhi man fights against junk food as diabetes rates in India soar

27 December 2017

A New delhi-based  father, Ashok Verma, whose son Uday was born with parts of his digestive tract missing, has been trying to protect others, especially children from unhealthy food.

An article in The New York Times quoted a doctor as warning that junk food is especially dangerous to Indians, who are far more prone to diabetes than people from other parts of the world.

Verma filed a public interest lawsuit in the Delhi High Court in 2010, demanding a ban on the sale of junk food and soft drinks in and around schools across India.

The report cited data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington showing that since 1990, the percentage of children and adults in India who are overweight or obese has almost tripled to 18.8 per cent from 6.4 per cent.

According to projections of The International Diabetes Federation, the number of Indians with diabetes will rise sharply to 123 million by 2040 as diets rich in carbohydrates and fat spread to less affluent rural areas.

''We are sitting on a volcano,'' said Anoop Misra, chairman of a diabetes hospital at Fortis Healthcare, one of India's biggest private hospital chains, told the NYT.

Meanwhile, the case seems to be going nowhere with the powerful junk foods industry, which boasts such international brands as Coca-Cola India, PepsiCo India and Nestlé India, fights the government, which this year, partially implemented a 40-per cent tax on carbonated drinks.

But the ban sought by Verma on sales of junk foods near schools remains in a limbo.

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