The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched ‘Project Dhoop’ to address rising incidence of Vitamin D deficiencies (VDD), particularly amongst the young people. The project aims to encourage schools to shift their morning assembly to around noon-time, mainly between 11 am to 1 pm to ensure maximum absorption of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight.
It has been launched by FSSAI along with National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) as well as North MCD Schools. The concept of noon school assembly under it is an innovative and effective concept to ensure that school students get adequate Vitamin D through sunlight, while also opting to choose food products like milk and edible oils that are fortified with Vitamins A and D.
Micronutrients including vitamins are needed by people in only very small amounts, but these are the “magic wands” that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development. As tiny as the amounts are, the consequences of their absence are severe. Vitamin A, D, B12, Iron, Folic Acid and Iodine, are the most important; their lack represents a major threat to the health and development of populations the world over, particularly children and pregnant women in countries like India.
For Vitamin D, fish and fish products are the only real food sources. For most Indians, Vitamin D is mainly obtained by exposure to sunlight without which deficiency is likely to occur. Sunlight’s action on cholesterol in the skin converts the cholesterol to Vitamin D via additional conversions in the liver and kidneys. Many factors can contribute to VDD such as overuse of sun screen, wearing clothes that cover most of the skin, and working inside all day in air-conditioned atmosphere and so on.
The launch of project comes in backdrop of rising incidence of Vitamin D deficiency in country as the studies have found that over 90% of boys and girls in various Indian cities are deficient in Vitamin D despite most part of India receiving abundant sunshine all the year through. Many factors can contribute to Vitamin D deficiency such as overuse of sun screen, wearing clothes that cover most of the skin, and working inside all day in air-conditioned atmosphere among others.
Current Affairs by Simran IAS Coaching