Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and PepsiCo India, through its brand Quaker, have come together to raise awareness on right approaches and behaviours towards healthy eating and active lifestyle for weight and health management, addressing various stakeholders and participants of different cohorts, leveraging private sector innovation and delivery systems to build a resilient and healthier India.

Series of Nutrition sessions were launched as a part of the Poshan Maah initiative to build awareness about the role of healthy wholesome diet and weight management with special emphasis on the importance of breakfast in attaining good health and overall quality of life. The focus was oriented towards fitness with a focus on “Being Real Fit Ambassadors”, engaging eminent nutrition experts, academicians, and celebrity chefs towards mobilising the community to keep themselves fit and healthy.

The awareness drive around the Eat Right initiative with dieticians and nutritionists Dr Jagmeet Madan, Dr Ritika Samaddar, Dr Manjari Chandra brought attention to changing dietary/lifestyle patterns, emerging trends and inclination towards weight loss and fad diets, reiterating the importance of sustainable approaches for healthy weight management. The session also had live recipe demonstrations with easy nutritious breakfast tips by chef Anahita Dhondy, chef Vanshika Bhatia and chef Sabyasachi Gorai.

As a culmination of this month-long initiative and as a part of celebrations on the World Food Day, a special panel discussion on ‘Be the Real Fit” with eminent panellists was organised.

Inoshi Sharma, executive director, FSSAI emphasised on the three broad pillars i.e. Safe, Healthy and Sustainable food, which can easily be adapted in any setting as an effective and core strategy to eradicate not only malnutrition but also rising NCDs and food-borne illnesses. She also spoke about key initiatives and framework being provided by FSSAI including Eat Right Campus, programmes focused on youth, consumers, and industry collaboration opportunities to collectively address the nutrition agenda.

Arjuna Awardee and Bronze Medallist, Tokyo 2020 Paralympics-Manoj Sarkar, emphasized on the importance of balanced, nutrient-dense, and timely meals and its effective utilisation to keep the body balanced both physically and mentally based on the tailored nutrient requirements we have. As a key takeaway, he called on the youth and budding sports enthusiasts to follow a healthy diet regime with physical activity to achieve sustainable health goals and not to go by experimenting short-cuts for quick results.

Other panelists included Priya Prakash, founder and CEO, HealthSetGo, emphasised on creating a robust ecosystem with new innovations that encourages effective combination of physical and mental health of the youth to help them “Be the Real Fit”.

Speaking about the program, Vinita Bali, chairperson, CII National Committee on Nutrition, said, “This pandemic has made people realise the value of health and the need to treat it as a priority. More people are reaching out for information on nutrition and health and hence the importance of the “right information” has become even more imperative. Nutrition communication is a very important part of the solution framework. Leveraging credible sources and platforms to provide authentic information including guidance on nutrition assessment, identification of nutritional risks both symptomatic and asymptomatic, has never been more important. CII continues to play the role of Convener for this dialog and action.”

Focusing on the health aspects of emerging diet trends especially amongst millennials demystifying what being real fit is, Dr Jagmeet Madan, president IDA, said, “Today’s Millennials are the future of India. Empowering them with Nutrition Literacy to be The Real Fit should be a National Mandate. The Evidence based Science of Nutrition supports that Quality Nutrition in Everyday Foods with Regular Physical Activity and Adequate Sleep is the Prescription to get Real Fitness. The Important add-ons are Consistency and Qualified Professional Handholding and Guidance at each step forward.”

Talking about PepsiCo India’s commitment under the eat right initiative, Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India, said, “Covid-19 has forced us to re-evaluate the ways in which we live, work, learn and consume information. The pandemic brought more attention and focus to the importance of health and wellness. A recent study by Euromonitor and Quaker highlighted 44% of urban millennials, skipped breakfast and delayed meals due to increased household chores and late start to the day and over 60 percent were driven towards healthy immune system. As an organization we understand these nuances and the importance of giving employee ‘me’ time that helps them to balance both their personal and work life. Under our Pepfit initiative, we ensured guidelines are in place to help set work boundaries, ensured breaks in between meetings, and defined ‘no-meeting’ time zones to enable personal time.”

The World Food Day celebration is an effort to re-emphasize on the role of holistic nutrition in terms of sustainable and nutrient rich diets and its adaptability into our everyday living as we all know that proper nutrition is directly linked to immunity and in this crucial phase, where people are struggling with the external environment, nutrition therapy in terms of right information and correct counselling is one effective strategy which can be used to support the system for long term behavioural/lifestyle changes contributing to the overall development of the nation. The panel saw the presence of participants from colleges, corporate organisations, nutrition colleges faculty and professionals from health and nutrition sector from across the country.