Odisha among top-10 states in country to adopt non-veg food

In Odisha, only 23.8% mothers bank on veg diet vis-a-vis 40.3% in Nagaland, which has an overwhelming 90 per cent Christian population

Bhubaneswar: When scientific evidences day in and day out show vegetarian diet reduces the risk of most contemporary diseases, the startling fact is Odisha figured among the top -10 non vegetarian states in the country.

As per the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18 released recently,  only a mere 23.8 per cent of mothers/caregivers of children aged 0-4 years consume vegetarian diet in Odisha against the national average of 43.8 per cent. The non-veg club in the country is led by Kerala and followed by Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Telengana, Assam and Odisha.

Even, in Nagaland, which has an overwhelming 90 per cent Christian population, a whopping 40.3 per cent mothers/caregivers of children aged 0-4 years banked on vegetarian diet.

Significantly, the proportion of mothers/caregivers having vegetarian diet nationally stood at a high of around 44 per cent.

A glance at the non-veg food item that is most preferred by even the children in Odisha is egg (64.6%), fish (58%) and chicken/meat (44.5%).

In contrast, with only 28 per cent children in Odisha having fruit as an item on their food plate, the State finished fourth from bottom in the country. This is so when fruits are scientifically proved to contain high quality antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential to keep heart disease, cancer etc at bay.

Moreover, with only 20.5 per cent children in Odisha having milk or curd as a part of their regular diet, the State finished second from the bottom in the country. This is so, when the dairy product is the only rich source of calcium. Calcium is not only the most vital chip for strong teeth & bones but also required for effective functioning of heart, nerves and blood-clotting system.

As Odisha’s tryst with non-veg foods continues, the chinks in the State’s nutritional deficiencies and disorders stare at the face. The CNNS-2016-18 has found prevalence of diabetes, high cholesterol, low HDL, high LDL higher among non-veg diet users than veg diet takers.

Significantly, US based National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows how recent studies have medically proved vegetarian diet as most beneficial for diabetes prevention and management.

The CNNS-2016-18 has observed that Vitamin A deficiency in Odisha is a moderate public health problem. Nearly 20 per cent children in the age-group of 1-4 years in Odisha exhibit Vitamin A deficiency, the proportion in 5-9 years age-group stood at 18.3 per cent and in 10-19 years at 19.1 per cent.

Another important take by the CNNS 2016-18 is a massive 42 per cent of adolescents in the age-group of 10-19 years in Odisha exhibit zinc deficiency. This is so when the State figured among the top-10 non-vegetarian states in the country. Because, non-veg foods like red meat are rich source of zinc.