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Did You Check Today If Your Wife Or Mother Has Eaten Well Too?

Ironically, she is the one who takes care of everyone else’s nutrition needs in her home, yet when it comes to her nutrition, sadly it does not seem to be a priority. #NationalNutritionWeek

The entire family eats dinner while the lady of the house serves them rotis, hot and fresh off the griddle. Later, once everyone has finished and settled into their bedrooms, she will sit on her own and eat her meal half-heartedly. The rotis would have gone cold by then, the left-overs may not be adequate and with no one to keep her company, it will likely be a lonely and unsatisfactory meal. So much so, that often she may not even notice whether she has eaten a proper, balanced dinner.

Ironically, she is the one who takes care of everyone else’s nutrition needs in her home, yet when it comes to her nutrition, sadly it does not seem to be a priority. A far too common situation in far too many households, even today.

How much do we care about the nutrition of our women?

In a predominantly patriarchal society, it is not surprising that women’s nutrition has not been an area of particular focus. An increase in stressful living conditions, lack of education, limited access to resources and general gender inequality have only resulted in intensifying this problem. The result of this has been there for all to see.

Studies prove that there has been a steady increase in anaemia as well as major deficiencies like Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, calcium, folic acid and zinc in Indian women. Add to that the fact that more than one third of Indian women in the reproductive age group are in a state of major nutritional deficiency during the pre- conception period, and it is definitely not an optimistic situation.

Women don’t prioritise themselves, but who is to blame?

Of course, it is imperative to create awareness and sensitize society about this all too pervasive problem. But it might be prudent to also accept that far too often, women themselves are responsible for neglecting their own health needs. Of course, it is internalised patriarchy; she has learnt to put herself last!

Take a look at a woman’s, any woman’s, to-do list. You’ll see they often put their own needs right at the bottom, in fact, sometimes they don’t figure there at all! Having taking on the primary role of overseers of the nutrition and health needs of their families, coupled with increased stress and anxiety, leaves little time, energy or inclination to focus on themselves.

Even educated women with access to resources like corporate wellness programs and behavioural health benefits often don’t benefit from these opportunities. When it comes to prioritizing, their own health and happiness will nearly always take a backseat. A survey has revealed that women are more likely than men to delay self-care as a result of their professional and personal commitments. Yet another survey says that women need encouragement to even do something as basic as attending a workout class, getting regular health checks or even managing to get enough sleep. That of course, isn’t surprising. After all, they’re often the first to wake up and the last to get into bed. Rather unfair, isn’t it?

Make sure you insist she eats with you

A balanced division of household and childrearing responsibilities, greater sensitivity, support and emotional involvement both at home as also in the workplace, and increased availability of information will go a long way in bringing about a change in this sorry state of affairs. After all, women are the foundation of any community, they play a pervasive, primary role in the welfare of their families as well as society at large. As members of a society, community or family, each one of us has a responsibility to fulfil here. The sooner we start, the quicker we will move toward a more balanced, healthy and harmonious equilibrium.

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So, if you’re a man reading this, next time insist she sit down and eat with you rather than wait for that hot roti. And if you’re a woman reading this, remember that a not-so-hot roti won’t make a difference to anyone. Sit and eat with your family. Make sure you’re getting an adequate, balanced diet. And yes, let him make the rotis sometimes too.

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About the Author

Rrashima Swaarup Verma

Rrashima is a senior corporate analyst with over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector. She is also a prolific writer, novelist and poet and her articles, stories and poems are regularly published in read more...

14 Posts | 19,064 Views

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