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World Milk Day: Some Facts About Milk

This year’s theme for World Milk Day is to draw the world’s attention to the climate change crisis and the milk industry would help in minimizing its impact on the planet. The aim here is to achieve ‘Dairy Net Zero’ by cutting down on the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.

Sharbani Banerjee | New Delhi |

Why do we Need World Milk Day?

To raise awareness about the importance of consumption of milk and dairy products related to it. Since milk is not just a good source of nourishment but global dairy market plays a crucial role in the global economy as a huge population is involved in the milk business which makes India be the largest milk producer.

Malnutrition:-

Now, despite being the largest milk producer, Indian children are deprived of enough nutrition with about one in three (36%) is underweight (low weight for age), about one in three (38%) is stunted (low height for age), one in five (21%) is wasted (low weight for height), and only every second child exclusively breastfed for the first six months; 3,000 children die every day from poor diet-related illnesses.

Due to low purchasing power, children from lower-income strata are deprived of essential nutrients to support their optimal physical and mental growth.

According to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, India accounts for more than three out of every 10 stunted children globally. The chronic impact of stunting on lifelong learning and adult productivity, in addition to increased disease susceptibility, is well known. Going by the National Family Health Survey-4 results, it appears that 40% of our future workforce will be unable to achieve their full physical and cognitive potential. Many children are born to anemic and malnourished teenage mothers. Indeed, about 34% of Indian women are chronically undernourished and 55% are anaemic.

Nutritional requirement:-

Since milk is known to be a complete food with all the nutrients in it, and with an abundant supply of milk in India, the most feasible intervention that can tide over the problem of malnutrition in children and women is the inclusion of milk in the feeding programmes for at least children in schools.

Nutrient needs increase in adolescents to meet the demands of pubertal growth and brain maturation. Insufficient nutrient intake during childhood leads to undernutrition, which results in growth retardation, reduced work capacity, and poor mental and social development.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), “malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world.” Over the last two decades, there has been a growing body of evidence that in utero, infant and young child undernutrition is directly linked to vulnerability to adult nutrition-related NCDs.

Milk and its benefits:-

As per the various studies, a diet containing milk or dairy products provides 25-33% of the protein requirement that have a positive effect on weight gain and linear growth in malnutrition children. Milk is an excellent source of several micronutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorous, potassium, etc, which help make bones strong, increase immunity, and improve vision, cognitive, and motor functions of the body. Some of these micronutrients are commonly deficient in populations that consume low amounts of animal-sourced foods. Therefore, milk, being a wholesome food, can play an important role in reducing malnutrition, if included in the regular diets of the population.