Priyanka Chopra bats for curbing anaemia in adolescents

PTI12_23_2015_000313A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador actress Priyanka Chopra during the launch of media campaign on the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Programme in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI

Actor Priyanka Chopra on Wednesday put her weight behind Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) campaign, a program to eradicate nutritional anaemia in adolescents, saying that health and nutrition are important for a country to achieve its potential.

Initiated by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the campaign will see the 33-year-old UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador reach out to the masses to raise awareness about the condition.

"This campaign is especially important because India is the youngest country of the world. We have about 60 per cent of population under 35. Statistics of anaemia are so scary especially with the girl child.

"I have been associated with the UNICEF and have had the good fortune of being able to speak for the advocacy of rights of the young girls and boys. But if they don't have the ammunition to be their best potential self, how will this country go forward," Priyanka told reporters during the launch of the media campaign here.

Free pills will be distributed to children in schools and anganwadis under the campaign which aims to reduce the prevalence and severity of nutritional anaemia among 11.2 crore adolescents in India.

The Quantico star, whose parents are doctors, said she has been taking the pill from last six months and it is helping her stay healthy despite her erratic work schedule.

"We started this campaign about six months ago in Bhopal and I got introduced to it for the first time. It was such an easy concept because I have a crazy lifestyle. I work 16 hours a day, travelling up and down across the world and I don't get time to eat. I have been having this pill for last six months since I launched it. I am taking it every week. I haven't fallen sick, weak and never felt unhealthy. It has given me a strong immune system in just six months. "

The actor said pregnant women should be made aware about it as anaemia leads to preterm delivery and babies with low birth weight.

"An anaemic pregnant woman will deliver an unhealthy and smaller baby. Health and nutrition are very important because it makes the country acheive its potential," she said.

Praising Priyanka's effort, Health Minister J P Nadda said, "I am thankful that Priyanka Chopra has taken out time and has become the goodwill brand ambassador for this cause.

She has been associated with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from last decade.

"It has been her mission to address health issues. I feel health issues are very important if we want to make Swacch Bharat a Swasth Bharat too. They need awareness and for it media's help is needed," he added.

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