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Identify health priorities to check obesity

The editorial Obese childhood (Sept 13) was timely and sensitised the people about dangers of childhood obesity. Healthy and nutritious eating habits are being sacrificed at the altar of consumerism. Unhealthy lifestyles are glamourised and junk foods are being promoted. More and more people are unknowingly becoming victims of deadly lifestyle diseases, which have its roots in childhood obesity.

WHO has warned — shape up or perish. Lifestyle diseases like heart diseases and diabetes are on the rise. While malnutrition afflicts children in rural areas, obesity is taking its toll in urban areas. In the absence of any national programme targeting childhood obesity, extensive media efforts spreading awareness are required. Until we, as a nation, identify our health priorities and evolve indigenous effective policies, we will not be able to check lifestyle diseases.

  Dr VITULL K GUPTA, Bathinda

Withdrawing AFSPA

While all human rights violations must be dealt with strictly, it will be a mistake to withdraw or dilute the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to deal with incidents of mass violence in the Valley. Situations like the one in the Valley need drastic measures. The security forces are being projected as bloodthirsty and inhuman.

Who asks nine and ten-year-old children to come out on streets and throw stones? Not policemen. Actually separatists ask them to come out, throw stones and burn public property and it is they who should be blamed for the casualties and not the security personnel who respond to a violent situation as per their drill.

Had the security forces not been risking their lives in the line of duty, Jammu and Kashmir would have gone to Pakistan long ago. The so-called separatist leaders make no secret of their love for Pakistan. That the Pakistanis have brought their country to a sorry pass and are in a serious crisis themselves is, perhaps, conveniently forgotten.

R.J. KHURANA, Bhopal

Dedicated teachers 

Rana Nayar’s tribute to his teacher in the article A teacher’s tribute (Sept 7) was poignant. Paul Love seems to be the epitome of the vanishing tribe of ‘dedicated-till-death’ teachers. It is amazing to know that he spent out of his own pocket for his students and ensured that the number of books in the college kept growing continuously.

It is indeed true that a teacher can have a profound impact on an impressionist mind and the halo-effect can last for a lifetime. Many teachers today do not have the same dedication.

Often, there are cumulative factors that go to make up this mentality which include pressures of the syllabus, large number of students and economic considerations. However, despite all the constraints and tribulations, we, as teachers, have been entrusted the task of not just teaching but also loving our students. Students with their eagerness to learn (their urge to be pranksters sometimes) and also being catalysts of change are really our responsibility. Love does beget love, especially if it is laced with dedication towards teaching and undying desire for the good of the students. Paul Love does appear to be an anachronism, but we do need more such anachronisms in society these days.


Substandard midday meals 

Merely 10 days after glass pieces were found in the midday meal, stones and dead flies have been noticed in the meals (news report, “Now, stones and dead flies found in midday meal” by Chander Parkash, Sept 11).

The mid-day meal scheme is world’s largest child-feeding programme which commenced 15 years ago and nearly 12 crore children enjoy midday meal daily. It should be enriched with proteins, especially for the growing children. The supply of substandard and unhygienic food to the children could invite serious health complications. Stern action should be taken against the carelessness of those responsible for playing with the health of students. 

In the past also, the supply of substandard midday meal has been pointed out in reports published in The Tribune. Even the iron pills given to the school children in Amritsar and Batala had led to their falling ill. 

There is no doubt that the midday meal scheme has contributed immensely in boosting attendance in schools and has found a way to address pervading malnutrition among children across India.  The midday meal scheme is a full time job that requires dedicated staff.  It is unfair to students that teachers should lose precious time due to the scheme more so when there are issues related to corruption and the quality of meals.

The government should seek public-private partnership or provide cooked meal in schools. Or children should be provided a packet of biscuits which are far more hygienic. Teachers can concentrate more on teaching of children than looking after the cooking/supply of food.

 HARISH K MONGA, Ferozepur city



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