Round table on combating diabetes and micro-nutrient deficiency in India

Discussions on diabetes and micro-nutrient deficiency.

Representatives from the state government of Karnataka, Netherlands Government, UNICEF, eminent nutritionists, child health specialists and representatives from Unilever and DSM participated in the round-table.

Nutritional transition

The round-table was held in the context of the nutritional transition underway in India with under-nutrition and over-nutrition coexisting in the population. Over one-third of adults are underweight, and around 15 percent of women and 11 percent of men are overweight or obese. Anemia is an endemic problem; more than half of women (52%) and 70 % of children, irrespective of the gender, in the ages of 6 and 59 months are anemic*1. In India, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions with 60 million people affected by the disease and 77 million predisposed. Sixteen per cent of the population in Karnataka is already affected by Diabetes.

The round-table was organized by Unilever and DSM to create a platform for multi-stakeholder engagement and deliberations. The round-table identified setting up “Public–Private partnerships” as imperative to reach out to at-risk populations to effectively combat diabetes and micro-nutrient deficiency.

Eminent experts

The deliberations were chaired by Dr. V. Prakash, distinguished scientist of CSIR-India. The Dutch delegation included Ms. Edith Schippers, The Netherlands Minister for Health Welfare and Sport, Mr. Bob Hiensch, Ambassador, Mr. Paul Huijts, Director-general for Public Health at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and representatives from Nutricia, Abbott & Astra Zenca.

The eminent experts included Dr. Anura V Kurpad, Professor of Physiology and Nutrition, St John’s Medical College and St John’s Research Institute, Dr. Kamala Krishnaswamy, former Director, National Institute Nutrition & Emeritus Medical Scientist, ICMR, Dr. Veena S Rao, advisor, Karnataka Nutrition Mission, and Dr. Beena Verghese, Child health specialist in addition to representatives from DSM and Unilever.

Driving a social cause

For Unilever, the round-table is in line with the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goal to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020. For DSM, this initiative is in line with their partnership with World Food Programme (WFP) to lead the fight against ‘hidden hunger’ by developing micronutrient innovations to meet specific nutrition needs.

*1 (Source National Family Health Survey-3)

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