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FSSAI launches project to battle Vitamin D deficiency in kids

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School assembly around noon time will allow the students to get sufficient Vitamin D from the sun.

In a unique initiative, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a campaign ‘Project Dhoop’ for shifting school assembly timings to noon instead of mornings in Delhi.

The campaign urges schools to shift their morning assembly to noon time -- mainly between 11am to 1pm to ensure maximum absorption of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight.

Launching the project, Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, said, “Despite the fact that most children suffer from Vitamin D deficiency in India, most of us are not aware of its serious consequences.”

The country’s apex food standards body pointed out that opting for fortified foods (with +F symbol) is a simple and inexpensive way to address micro-nutrient deficiencies without any radical change in behavior or eating patterns.

Mr Aggarwal claimed that both fortified milk and fortified edible oil are now readily available across the country.

Major General (Retd.) Dr. R K Marwaha, Scientific Advisor and Senior Consultant Endocrinology, said, “Nearly 90% of the body’s Vitamin D requirement is met by adequate exposure to sunlight and only 10% is met through diet.”

Dr Marwaha stated, “Interestingly, 40-60% of the adult bone mass is accumulated during childhood. Hence, it is very important that children are exposed to sunshine for stronger bones and immune system.”

He further added that we can all get abundant Vitamin D from sunshine by exposing only 18% of body surface area (without sunscreen) to sunshine at noon for 30-45 minutes.

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