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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra bats for adolescent anaemia patients

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NEW DELHI: UNICEF has released a short film in which its Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra and others emphasised the importance of stepping up the fight against adolescent anaemia, regarded as a major health problem among adolescents in developing countries including India.

In the film released on the occasion of World Youth Day, Chopra said, “One out of two young girls and one out of three young boys in India are anaemic. Anaemia is a serious health problem not only in rural but also in the urban areas. Anaemia can be prevented by taking iron-rich diet, Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) tablets once a week and deworming tablets every six months. It is really that simple.”

The film highlights the importance of the Government’s Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) programme for adolescents launched in 2012 to reduce severity and prevalence of nutritional anaemia in adolescents between 15 and 19 years. Several medical personnel also spoke about the problem of anaemia along with Chopra.

As many as 56 per cent girls and 30 per cent boys in this age group in India are anaemic, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 3 data. This group comprises one-fourth of India’s population and is a key driver of its future economic growth.

Research shows that after the first year of life, adolescence is the second highest growth spurt period. Adolescents, if given the right nutrition, gain up to 50 per cent of their adult weight, more than 20 per cent of their adult height, and 50 per cent of their adult bone mass during this period.

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