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Celiac Society of India & Illness to Wellness organises seminar on the role of millets in preventing gut inflammation

Our Bureau, New Delhi
Tuesday, July 9, 2024, 16:50 Hrs  [IST]

The Celiac Society of India and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, in partnership with health-dedicated programme Illness to Wellness, hosted a seminar on “Gut, Microbiome & Millets: The Inflammation Fix”, highlighting the critical role of gut health in combating prevalent nutritional deficiencies and chronic diseases, emphasizing practical dietary changes for improved public health outcomes.
Dr. Vinod Kumar Paul, member of NITI Aayog said, "We must tackle the nutrition crisis through behavioural change, shifting to nutritious foods like millets instead of processed ones".
Celiac disease is a hidden condition that needs more awareness and the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey data shows alarming trends including that 11% of children aged 10-19 are pre-diabetic, and obesity rates are rising by 4-5%. He urged teachers, parents, and caregivers to focus on children's diets, obesity, and overall lifestyle. Regular health checkups, including BMI assessments, are crucial. Nutritionists and industry professionals must prioritize adolescent health, he averred.
“We need evidence that changes can reduce obesity and anaemia on a large scale. Preconception care for women and proper complementary feeding between six to eight months of a child's life are critical, yet only 46% of children receive this care. Additionally, only 12% of children aged six to eighteen months receive a minimum acceptable diet, leaving 88% lacking essential nutrition. Special attention is needed for early and low-birth-weight babies, who make up 30% of births and require intensive feeding. This is a critical public health nutrition issue that demands immediate action,” said Paul.
Opening the session, Dr. Chandrakant Pandav, Padma Shri awardee and expert in community medicine with significant contributions to iodine deficiency disorders and public health said, "Wellness encompasses nine interconnected components: Physical, Emotional, Social, Creative, Spiritual, Financial, Environmental, and Occupational. Each of these elements is vital to achieving overall well-being. Development should be measured beyond economic metrics, taking inspiration from Bhutan's Gross National Happiness, which emphasizes happiness and well-being as key indicators of progress".
According to the June 2024 UN report, only 17% of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on track to be achieved by 2030. Immediate and accelerated action is required to meet these global objectives, he added.
Meenakshi Lekhi, former Union minister said, “We need a millet revolution, much like the green revolution. Ancient texts from the Neolithic period and the Harappa and Indus Valley civilizations reference millets, highlighting their historical significance. Varieties like Black Millet, Barnyard Millet, Foxtail Millet, and Sorghum Millet were once staples in our diet before colonial influences changed our eating habits".
Emphasizing the significance of such seminars and the vital contributions of initiatives like those between Illness to Wellness and the Celiac Society of India, Anil Rajput, chairperson of the National CSR Council at Assocham, remarked, "The collective efforts of the Celiac Society and Illness to Wellness in organizing these seminars to raise awareness about gut health are both inspiring and commendable. Gut health is fundamental to our overall well-being and as many health issues stem from the gut- a healthy gut is the cornerstone of good health. Events like these are indeed critical in reinforcing the need for a balanced diet and the resulting healthy living. I am confident that going forward we will intensify the number of programmes that address the multiple facets of gut health.”
The seminar highlighted the importance of gut health in addressing the epidemic of nutritional deficiencies and chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancers, autoimmune diseases, and mental health issues. Often referred to as the second brain, the gut houses two-thirds of the immune system, underscoring its crucial role in overall health. Recent studies emphasize the profound impact of gut health on overall well-being, highlighting its role in managing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mental health.
The eminent speakers who enlightened the audience with their insights included Dr. Arjun Dang, MBBS, MD, CEO & partner at Dr. Dang’s Lab; Dr. Meena Mishra, MBBS, MD, chairperson of the Brain Behaviour Research Foundation of India; Dr. Kapil Yadav, MBBS, MD, Professor at the Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS; Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist, columnist, author, entrepreneur & researcher and Dr. Asha Chandra, founder of Asha Chandra Welfare Consultancy among others.
Speakers highlighted pointers on the disruption of microbiome balance caused by commonly eaten grains and highlighted the benefits of ancient, anti-inflammatory, gut-friendly grains like millets. The engaging discussions provided attendees with practical dietary changes to incorporate these nutritious grains into their daily lives, dispelling myths and misconceptions along the way, said the organisers.


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