Dinesh C Sharma
New Delhi: India currently faces twin challenges in the nutrition sector – undernutrition manifesting in several health problems as well as increasing problem of overweight and obesity, contributing to the burden of non-communicable diseases. In order to provide a snapshot of all relevant data and information about nutrition, the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has developed the country’s first Nutrition Atlas.
The Nutrition Atlas provides information and data on nutritional status of population groups at national and state levels, along with an overview of nutrition-related deficiencies, disorders and prevalence levels in various parts of the country. In addition, it provides information on nutrients, nutrient rich foods, nutritional deficiency disorders and a host of other topics.
The portal also includes information on nutrition rich foods and nutri-guide for various nutrients, minerals, essential amino-acids, fatty acids, dietary fibers and proteins, along with their biochemical cutoffs, recommended dietary allowances, signs and symptoms and dietary sources.
The Atlas is interactive and displays information in the form a user may select. The Atlas has been developed through a long drawn, cohesive and technical exercise by a multi-disciplinary team in the bioinformatics division of NIN. It makes use of publicly available data sources like reports of National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, National Family Health Survey, World Health Organisation and other public databases. The Dashboard acts like an information management tool, helping the user track data on undernutrition, overnutrition, overweight, obesity and communicable and non-communicable diseases. It can also provide different time trends on each of these parameters.
While public databases like data.gov.in provide data from various sectors include health, the Nutrition Atlas is a specific data portal on nutrition and health parameters. “The prevalence and incidence of various nutrition and health parameters have been given for all 679 districts, wherever such information is available in public domain,” Dr Vishnu Vardhana Rao, senior scientist at NIN, who led the effort, told India Science Wire.
“The data in the Atlas will be updated as and when new data is released public domain by organizations concerned,” Dr Rao added. “This portal is useful to policy makers, programme managers, researchers, media, students and other stakeholders.”
The development team included Rajeswari, Dr P Shyam, Dr Sudip Ghosh and Dr. M. Munikumar. NIN is a leading laboratory in the field of nutrition research under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). (India Science Wire)
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