Blue Dot for Diabetes

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Project Blue Dot is an initiative to empower people with diabetes to make healthier food choices through easy identification of diabetes friendly food. The project was launched in India by the United Diabetes Forum (UDF) in partnership with McCann Health. The United Diabetes Forum (UDF) is an association of over 100 diabetologists as its members, predominantly based in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, rest of Maharashtra and other states. McCann Health is part of McCann Worldgroup and the Interpublic Group (IPG)), a global adverstising agency network.

Diabetes in India

India has over 60 million people with diabetes and projected to increase to 101.2 million by 2030. While education is one of the key components in ensuring better treatment and control of diabetes, only about 50% of the population is literate about the disease.[1] Understanding the importance of nutrition and healthful dietary behaviours is a critical component of prevention and management. This remains severely compromised, due to poor literacy levels. Even among the urban Indian, promoting healthy food choices through use of food labels is not completely met, with majority of people finding it difficult to comprehend nutrition information.[2]

Aim of Project Blue Dot

The project was aimed to bring about a policy change in food labelling thereby making identification of diabetes friendly food easy. The essential concept and idea is to denote diabetes friendly food with a distinct BLUE DOT (equivalent to the brown and green dots representing non-vegetarian and vegetarian food respectively) thus empowering patients and enhancing lives by helping them take right decisions.

Scientific definition of Blue Dot

Which foods can be labelled with a Blue Dot and how foods can be defined as diabetes friendly, was decided through scientific debate and validation. A national advisory board was constituted. This advisory board included eminent diabetologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, psychologists and statisticians.

Members of the Advisory Board

Dr. Anoop Misra
Director & HOD of Diabetes & Metabolic Diseases, Fortis Hospitals, Delhi.
Recipient of Padma Shri by President of India, 2007

Dr. Shashank R. Joshi
President of Endocrine Society of India
Former President RSSDI (Research Society For the Study of Diabetes in India).

Dr Manoj Chaddha
Consultant Endocrinologist, Hinduja Hospital.
Author of 1st Prize winning paper presentation at ESI 1995

Dr Rajiv Kovil
Consultant Diabetologist,
Holy Spirit Hospital & BSESMG
GLOBAL Hospital & Research center

Dr Manoj Chawla
Founder President of United Diabetes Forum.
Past president of Andheri Medical Association

Dr. Tejas Shah
Consultant Diabetologist,
Diabetes Care Clinic &
Sanjeevani Hospital, Mumbai

Dr. Rekha Sharma
President Indian Dietetic Association (2011–2014);
Former Chief Dietician and Head of Dietetics,
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

Dr. Jagmeet Madan
National Vice President
Indian Dietetics Association
Principal & Professor - Department of Food & Nutrition ,
SVT College of Home Science,
SNDT Women’s University

Dr. K Bhaskarachary
Assistant Director in
National Institute of Nutrition, (NIN) Hyderabad
Former National Vice President - Indian Dietetic Association (IDA)

Ms Shilpa Joshi
Member of National Executive committee of
Indian Dietetic Association
Master trainer “Diabetes Conversation Maps” initiative for Diabetes education

Dr Anuradha Sovani
Professor and Head, Department of Psychology, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai;
Trustee and Consultant, Institute for Psychological Health, Thane

Ms Soly James
Ex-Head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in S. L. Raheja- A Fortis Associate Hospital;
Columnist on Nutrition in a Health Magazine

Dr. Seema Gulati
Chief Project Officer Diabetes Foundation India since 2006

Dr. M Vishnuvardhan Rao
Deputy Director, Division of statistics, NIN, Hyderabad

Multistakeholder workshop

The multi-stakeholder workshop brought together restaurant associations, chef associations, pharmaceutical and FMCG companies working in the diabetes space, government and regulatory authorities on one-platform.

The Blue Dot is a score

Through two advisory board meetings and one multi-stakeholder workshop, Blue Dot was defined and validated. Every meal is assigned a score, based on the proportion of carbohydrate, fat and protein; amount of salt content and method of cooking. When the meal is a balanced one, and is cooked the healthy way, it gets a higher score than other foods.

Scientific white paper

A white paper on Blue Dot has been created and will soon be published in a reputed journal.

Consumer campaign Launch

On World Health Day 2016, a consumer campaign was launched at 2 elite hotels –Sahara Star and Holiday Inn in Mumbai. The theme of World Health Day - “Beat Diabetes” was in sync with Project Blue Dot and that is the reason, this day was chosen to launch the consumer campaign.

The chefs at both the hotels were trained to prepare diabetes friendly recipes, which were included as a part of the lunch buffet on World Health Day. The medical team of McCANN Health ensured that the recipes were prepared as per set guidelines and these recipes were qualified to be ‘Blue Dot recipes’.

The campaign was well received by the consumers. There was an expression of interest to spread the concept of Blue Dot across 150 hotels pan India.

Future of Blue Dot

Blue Dot is aimed to be a global phenomenon. We are looking at prospective partnerships with relevant organizations, working in the space of diabetes. We also aim to take the Blue Dot to packaged foods .

References

  1. Deepa, M; Bhansali, A; Anjana, RM; Pradeepa, R; Joshi, SR; Joshi, PP; Dhandhania, VK; Rao, PV et al. (2014). "Knowledge and awareness of diabetes in urban and rural India: The Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes Study (Phase I): Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes 4.". Indian J Endocr Metab 18: 379–385. 
  2. Vemula, SR; Gavaravarapu, SM; Mendu, VV; Mathur, P; Avula, L (Sep 2014). "Use of food label information by urban consumers in India - a study among supermarket shoppers". Public Health Nutr. 17 (9): 2104–14. 

External links