While good health is a prerequisite for the development of an individual, nutrition plays a crucial role in developing and maintaining this health. Adolescents being in the phase of rapid growth and development have higher nutritional demands to meet the needs of their physical, physiological and psychological growth. Adolescence is also a period when typical emotional and behavioural patterns are set in, which are then carried throughout adulthood. With a continuation of focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits during the current pandemic, Salaam Bombay Foundation organised a webinar titled – ‘Role of Nutrition on Immunity Boosting During COVID 19 and Looking At Nutrition & Health Through the Lens of School & Community Nutrition Gardening’.
The guest of honour on the occasion was Dr. Krishna Methekar, Deputy Director, FSSAI, Western Region of India who spoke about – ‘Role of Nutrition in immunity boosting during COVID 19 pandemic’. The other guest speakers at the webinar were Mrs. Gene Gomes – Prinicipal, Michael High School who spoke on the topic – ‘Kitchen gardening in school premises- Experiences’ and Mrs. Preeti Patil – Founder, Urban Leaves, India who spoke on the topic – ‘Kitchen gardening and composting at home using waste material and innovative techniques’. The webinar also focussed on the importance of School & Community Nutrition Gardening which was in sync with the guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The aim is to encourage setting up School Nutrition (Kitchen) Gardens which would help in addressing malnutrition and micro-nutrition deficiencies among school children as children will learn the skill to grow their own food.
While appreciating Salaam Bombay Foundation, Dr. Krishna Methekar, Deputy Director, FSSAI, Western Region of India commented, “I would like to thank Salaam Bombay Foundation for the sincere efforts they have been putting in with their Preventive Health Programme even during the lockdown. It is important to eat nutritionally rich foods, get enough Vitamin C through fruits and practise all manners of safety and hygiene. To make the young aware of all this is very commendable. And yes, physical activity for the body coupled with yoga for the soul makes for a healthy future generation of Indians.”
Ms. Priti Vaishnav, Senior Manager, Preventive Health Programme, Salaam Bombay Foundation said, “ At SBF we have been constantly striving to create awareness on nutrition and healthy dietary practices that can be an effective way to help adolescents make the right food choices which would positively affect their growth, development and daily activities. This in turn has positive outcomes for their academics and extracurricular activities. And we have been doing this through our programme ‘KHANA – Knowledge on Health And Nutrition for Adolescents’- a project on school based health and nutrition since 2017. With the pandemic bringing physical connectivity and movement to a halt, we decided to opt for the virtual route in order to continue our efforts towards this initiative and so far we have already reached out to over 13,000-15,000 students from 220 BMC and government aided schools. We have been doing this with online sessions that are conducted regularly where our facilitators provide explanations, conduct games, activities, discussions and Q & A rounds. . The children and their parents have been contacted through sessions that were delivered through Zoom, Google, Microsoft based platforms. Our aim is to reach out to approximately 20,000 students by March 2021”
The focus of the Salaam Bombay Preventive Health Programme continues to be on awareness of the ills of tobacco consumption especially during COVID, nutrition, hygiene and the importance of physical activity and mental well-being. An added element is the importance of school and community nutrition gardening.