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Alarming spurt in consumption of fat

Alarming spurt in consumption of fat
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Amid the debates over whether obesity is a form of disability or not, figures that have emerged from recently-released data in India reflect an alarming trend over consumption of fats in the country.

Amid the debates over whether obesity is a form of disability or not, figures that have emerged from recently-released data in India reflect an alarming trend over consumption of fats in the country.

India has reported a considerable rise in per capita intake of fat not only at a national scale but almost in every state, says the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data.

The survey that was published on Saturday further highlights that an increase of almost 10 grams of fat has been seen in the past 18 years in both rural and urban areas of the country. While the intake in rural India has risen from 31.4 grams per day in 1993-94 to 41.6 grams in 2011-12, the numbers for urban India have swollen from 42 grams to 52.50 grams during the same period. In both the sectors combined, all the major states (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal) have shown a rise that ranges from five to six grams in 1993-94 to 17-18 grams in 2011-12.

The per capita fat intake was about 100 grams in the top fractile class (top five per cent, based on income) of the urban sector and about 27grams in the lowest fractile class (lowest five per cent, as per earning group). In the rural sector, the intake for the top fractile class was 92 grams while that for the class with least income was 21 grams. Rural India consumes more protein than urban.

Unlike the intake of protein, which according to the report did not show much difference at rural and urban levels, fractile classes across urban India are consuming much more fat than those in the rural regions. At an all-India level, the protein intake per person per day stands at 60.7 grams in the rural sector and 60.3 grams in the urban.

The variation, however, was considerably more between rural areas of different states. For example, the per capita intake per day varied from about 52 grams in Chhattisgarh to about 73 grams in Haryana. Whereas in the urban areas, the gap narrowed as consumptions stood at 55grams per day for Assam and 69 grams for Haryana.

In some of the poorer States, protein intake was remarkably lower in the rural sector than in the urban. In Jharkhand, while rural areas consumed 54.7 grams every day, people in urban areas consumed 60.3 grams per day. For Chhattisgarh, the numbers stood at 51.7 grams for rural and 55.8 grams for urban areas. On the other hand, in states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab with highest levels of protein intake, rural population consumed more protein than the urban (about 4-5gm higher).

Comparison of estimates for India and the major states from previous NSS surveys, held between 1983 and 2012, show a decline in calorie intake in both the sectors; with the decline getting sharper in the urban sector after 1999-2000, but regaining a level of about 2,100 Kcal per person per day in the rural sector in 2011-12 and about 2,060 Kcal in the urban sector.

While the average dietary energy intake, according to the recent NSSO data, was at 2,233 Kcal per person per day for rural India, the urban India showed an intake of 2,206 Kcal. The report is based on information collected during 2011-12 from 7,469 villages and 5,268 urban blocks spread over the entire country.

By: Kundan Pandey

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