Published: 20th July 2022
NIMHANS alumni call NEP position paper on health and well being "unscientific", seek its withdrawal
The UNICEF report, The State of World's Children 2021 did not even have the word 'yoga' for claiming its benefits for better mental health
Alumni of NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) have sought the withdrawal of the position paper on Health and Wellbeing for the National Curriculum Framework and NEP 2020. They have called it "outrageous, outdated, unscientific and frivolous".
While speaking to the media, the alumni said it was a matter of concern that the expert group on child health and nutrition did not have a paediatrician as a member. The paper has made several claims, like benefits of yoga for the mental health of children, plant-based foods being more human-friendly, reduced malnutrition, eggs and meat being responsible for lifestyle disorders and so on, without providing any conclusive evidence.
They stated that contrary to these claims, NFHS-5 showed that severe malnutrition increased in 341 districts, an EAT-Lancet reference diet showed that the Indian diet was not healthy as it comprised more carbs and not enough protein. They said the UNICEF report, The State of World's Children 2021 did not even have the word 'yoga' for claiming its benefits for better mental health.
Sufficient evidence was also provided, contradicting the position paper's notion that eggs and meat cause lifestyle disorders. The study by Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayati Raj University had shown that children who had eggs in their mid-day meal schemes had a significant gain in weight and BMI (Body Mass Index). The paper had also made claims about equality of all children, no 'pankti bedha' and dharma in its bid to deny eggs. The study had stated that only four per cent of Yadgir was unwilling to consume eggs, and did not show any resistance or ill-effects on minds.
The State and Central governments have already decided to provide eggs in seven districts and approved it for other districts as well, for 46 days of the year. Therefore, the recommendation goes against the decision of the government. They urged the government to provide eggs in midday meals for a minimum of 150 days.
The former students requested the NIMHANS director to dissociate from the report and also sought the immediate resignation of Dr K John Vijay Sagar as chairperson of the expert group.