As India witnesses a growing young demographic, this demographic has also gravitated heavily towards junk. Blame it on the always-on-screen lifestyle or the sheer neglect of good food, or perhaps the affordable and quick nature of the junk food, the consumption of unhealthy food is on the rise. The country has an epidemic 5% obesity rate and it is growing every year. Hence, the country’s national food regulator along with the largest company on the planet, Amazon, has decided to fix this from the grassroots, teaching kids in school about ‘eating right’ using Alexa.
Somewhere between 5.74 percent and 8.82 percent of schoolchildren in India are obese. For a country like India, which is considered to be among the youngest in the world, this is grossly problematic since the country’s youth is its biggest asset. Therefore, FSSAI is planning to introduce ‘eat right’ labs in schools, teaching children about healthy and safe eating.
“A key constituent of the ‘eat right’ campaign is towards children and to address this audience, there are a number of interventions that are based on pulling in these young minds, rather than pushing out content,” Food Safety & Standards Authority of India chief executive officer Pawan Agarwal said.
The aim is to use Alexa to teach children about healthy eating. Therefore, it will target students who use Alexa on a regular basis. The plan will also focus on working with schools to deliver meal plans to children.
FSSAI, the nodal agency under the ministry of health and family welfare, plans to use technology to bring the significance of healthy eating under the light. “We want this to become a mainstream conversation and we’re using technologies like virtual and augmented reality to bring in school and college students,” Mr. Agarwal said.
The government has clamped down on junk food and is almost on a mission to reduce obesity and its causes. It has banned the sale of packaged foods high in fat, salt and sugar in school canteens, messes, hostel kitchens or within 50 metres of their campuses.