Chandigarh, November 25, 2021 : Trans-fats in fast food are major causes of heart and other non-communicable diseases worldwide. These are a form of unsaturated fat associated with a number of negative health effects, it’s easy availability among school going children in the form of pizzas, burgers, noodles, cookies, chips, bakery items, etc. is a matter of deep concern, said Dr. Sonu Goel, Professor, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh, and Chief Organiser of the event during the release of a quarterly newsletter entitled "Trans Fat free schools", developed under the research project. The project aims to strengthen the management of hypertension services through capacity building, media and communication and stakeholders' engagement in the state of Punjab. Giving a brief description of the newsletter, he mentioned that this newsletter presents the global and national scenario of trans fat regulation in schools besides highlighting the 10-pointer charter of FSSAI regulation which needs to be urgently implemented in both public and private schools.

Dr. Poonam Khanna, Associate Professor of Nutrition in the department, mentioned that the consumption of fast foods and sugar sweetened beverages (fruit juices, carbonated & energy drinks) has been increasing in Indian children since last two decades which leads to dental caries, childhood obesity, and high cardio metabolic risks. PGIMER has taken the first-ever initiative to regulate Trans fatty Acids (TFA) in the state of Punjab by signing an MoU with Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Govt. of Punjab for trans fat surveillance and regulation in the state, she added.

Dr. Paramjyoti, Program Officer, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), Chandigarh, informed that RBSK is working to improve the overall quality of life of children by providing education on healthy eating habits among school children. She assured full support to the PGIMER initiative in dissemination and active implementation of guidelines of Transfat Free Schools in Chandigarh.

While appreciating the initiative taken by PGIMER, Dr. Palika Arora, PCS, Director, Education, School and Higher Education, Chandigarh asserted to make schools students and teachers aware of healthy foods and ill effects of trans fats. “The 10-point charter given in the newsletter will guide in preparing a road map for trans fat free schools in Chandigarh”, reiterated Dr. Arora.

All the experts pledged to support the initiatives of PGIMER to eliminate trans fat from school canteens and follow the FSSAI guidelines for trans fat regulation in schools.