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Celebrities should not be allowed to advertise soft drinks, chocolates, noodles: CSE
This year's World Health Day on Diabetes was most significant for a country like India. Observed on April 7 by the World Health Organization, Beat Diabetes - this year's theme -- was immensely relevant to India, which is home to over 60 million people suffering from diabetes; the number is expected to rise steeply in the years to come.

Most prevalent form of diabetes is Type 2, which is a diet-related non-communicable disease (NCD) along with hypertension, heart disease and certain cancers. Excess consumption of unhealthy junk foods specifically among children is strongly linked with growing prevalence of obesity and NCDs.

These foods are ultra-processed and are high in salt, sugar, fats. They lack fibre, vitamins and minerals and contain chemical additives. Such foods include carbonated soft drinks, chocolates and other confectionery, ice-creams, instant noodles, pizaa and burger from fast food outlets.

"The food industry should not be allowed to aggressively target our children. No celebrity should be allowed to advertise soft drinks, chocolates, noodles etc. Broadcast of food advertisements should be prohibited on programmes that are watched by children. No such company should be allowed to sponsor events at schools. No junk food should available at schools or near-by. Mandatory government controls are required as successfully done in other parts of the world," Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said in a release.

CSE said that India was witnessing change in lifestyle and transition in dietary habits from traditional, fresh foods to modern packaged foods. The New Delhi-based NGO added that obesity was near epidemic now and is a severe problem with children.

"Diabetes is prevalent like never before and Indians are being affected by it at a much younger age than people in other parts of the world. The problem has extended to rural areas too," claimed CSE.

Growing air pollution is now being strongly associated with metabolic and lifestyle diseases like diabetes. Large-scale population-based studies have linked diabetes with air pollution. Studies have found strong and consistent association between diabetes prevalence and PM2.5 concentrations.

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