71% Indians can’t afford a healthy meal, millions die every year due to poor diet: Report

  • The diet of an average Indian typically lacks essential nutritional food articles like fruits, vegetables, legumes

Livemint
Updated3 Jun 2022, 04:02 PM IST
In the past year, the consumer food price index (CFPI) inflation has seen a 327% increase, while the consumer price index (CPI) – which includes CFPI -- has seen an 84% jump.
In the past year, the consumer food price index (CFPI) inflation has seen a 327% increase, while the consumer price index (CPI) – which includes CFPI -- has seen an 84% jump.

The majority of Indians cannot afford a healthy meal and millions die every year due to diseases that are directly linked to poor diet, a recent survey showed. Noting that the diet of an average Indian typically lacks essential nutritional food articles like fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc., the report said, “a healthy meal becomes unaffordable if it exceeds 63% of a person's income.”

A recent report released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Down to Earth magazine said, “Seventy-one percent of Indians cannot afford a healthy diet. The global average is 42 percent.”

The diet of an average Indian typically lacks fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. The consumption of fish, dairy and red meat is within target, the report also said the Global Nutrition Report, 2021. 

Referring to the diseases that are attributable to poor diet, the survey mentioned respiratory ailments, diabetes, cancer, strokes and coronary heart disease.

Why majority of Indians can't afford a healthy meal?

 As per the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a healthy meal becomes unaffordable if it exceeds 63% of a person's income. 

Adults above the aged 20 and above consume only 35.8g of fruit per day as against the recommended 200g and 168.7g of vegetables every day as against the minimum 300g that is advised. 

Similarly, they consume just 24.9g per day (25% of target) of legumes and 3.2g (13% of target) of nuts per day.

"Despite some progress, diets are not getting healthier. Additionally, they are making increasing demands on the environment, even as unacceptable levels of malnutrition persist in the country," the report said.

"The high human, environmental and economic costs of continuing our current trajectory are so significant that we will pay a far higher price if we fail to act. The global food system falls far short of achieving global goals for both health and the environment," it said.

How inflation is affecting food prices? 

In the past year, the consumer food price index (CFPI) inflation has seen a 327% increase, while the consumer price index (CPI) – which includes CFPI -- has seen an 84% jump.

“Food seems to be the biggest mover of CPI inflation. The current high levels of food inflation have been driven by the rising cost of production, surging international crop prices and extreme weather-related disruptions.

"In fact, our analysis of CRISIL data shows that food prices have increased at a higher rate in rural areas than in urban areas in March-April 2022," said Richard Mahapatra, managing editor, Down To Earth.

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First Published:3 Jun 2022, 04:02 PM IST
HomeNews71% Indians can’t afford a healthy meal, millions die every year due to poor diet: Report

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