CFME in Mylapore

The issue of obesity is on the rise especially in an urban metropolitan city of Southern India, Chennai. The effects of globalization and westernization coupled with unique Asian Indian phenotype worsened the scenario. Increasingly, public health strategies focusing on environmental determinants of overweight and obesity, an appropriate area of intervention. This has warranted an innovative approach that focuses both population and individual-based prevention strategy to mitigate obesity epidemic. This article presents such an innovation of nutritional education via the ‘healthy supermarket’ model. Though there are supermarkets that propagate healthy food, none has been effective in promoting the awareness on healthy eating, predominantly because along with healthy food, high processed food is also sold. This model, however, used a colour coded method, along with additional labelling of ingredients, in-house nutritionists and posters for education and information.

The main barriers faced were related to those of the suppliers, manufacturers, nutritionists, consumers as well as the fiscal aspects of sustaining such a supermarket. However, the upkeep of such a concept requires a multifaceted approach such as support from the public health authorities, need for specialties within the occupation of nutrition and dietitians, who can recognize obesity as being a specialist area of dietetic practice, and promotion of social entrepreneurship. To conclude, the strength of this education model includes real-life setting, the new design of supermarket and similar concepts can be setup or the existing ones can be remodelled with a sustainable business model for policy changes. In order to observe the success of this model on chronic diseases epidemiology, this model needs to be replicated in different areas of Southern India and other regions with the concept of ‘the food pharmacy’. – Published.

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