Majority Indians Are Unaware Of Vegetarian Protein Sources: Study

Majority Indians Are Unaware Of Vegetarian Protein Sources: Study

A recent survey conducted by YouGov and Right To Protein, states that 20 Indian states that are high on nutrition index. This Index strives to improve human well-being and enhance nutrition security in India

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, August 19, 2023, 02:34 PM IST
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The 'Right To Protein' campaign released the Nutrition Awareness Index 2023, a state-wise index assessing awareness, affordability, and accessibility of nutrition in India as perceived by end-consumers (citizens). The Nutrition Awareness Index aims to serve as an important tool to advance the vision of nutrition security in India – with regards to commitments, practices, management.

Developed by YouGov, the Nutrition Awareness Index 2023 was developed basis a survey conducted with over 2,000 representative of adult urban internet users (18 years of age and above), who can read and understand English (and primarily NCCS A), across 20 states with the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022, providing valuable insights into nutritional awareness and existing gaps.

Punjab emerged as the top state, scoring 11% above the national average, while Bihar ranked at the bottom, scoring 10% below the national average. Based on the total scores, the other top ranked states are, Karnataka (9% higher than the national average), Delhi (7% higher), Uttarakhand (6% higher) and Assam (5% higher), while the bottom ranked ones are Andhra Pradesh (10% lower than the national average), Rajasthan (8% lower), Tamil Nadu (6% lower) and Gujarat (6% lower).

The Index also found that majority Indians are unaware of vegetarian protein sources. Over 53% of young Indians (aged 18-35) find nutrition access challenging and while over 50% of them feel they eat balanced but failed to identify nutritional food sources correctly.

The Index decodes urban India’s understanding of different kinds of food groups essential to a healthy diet as explained by the National Health Portal. It aims to be a device for policymakers, investors, international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), food and beverage industry, agriculture sector, nutritionists, healthcare practitioners, thought leaders and others to tackle growing nutrition challenges and meet our nutritional commitments.

"This Index highlights the perceptions and understanding of nutrition across various states, allowing us to identify crucial areas that require immediate attention and investment. Together, we can work towards building a healthier and more nourished India. Tailoring educational campaigns to state-specific nuances is crucial. For example, while only one-third of people in Assam identify pulses and legumes as body-building foods, over half of those in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand do so. Understanding these regional variations allows us to design more targeted approaches to increase awareness and consumption," said Deepa Bhatia, General Manager, YouGov India.

Nutritional challenges have never been more evident, as the COVID-19 pandemic widened inequities, and impacted malnutrition in all its forms. Despite the progress made over the years, there is an opportunity to improve and place stronger commitments to improving food systems and enabling nutrition security.

"The Nutrition Awareness Index 2023 will be instrumental in shaping evidence-based policies and interventions to strengthen nutrition security in India. It serves as a compass guiding us toward a future where no one suffers from hunger or undernutrition, fostering a society where everyone has equal access to nutritious food. Through shared knowledge and collective action, we aim to empower communities and promote sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring a brighter, healthier future for generations to come," said Jaison John, Country Team Lead – India U.S. Soybean Export Council, Supporter of the ‘Right To Protein’ campaign.

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