Hyderabad, July 29: The "ideal" man of India is now 5 kgs heavier while the "ideal" woman has put on 10 kgs of weight in the last 70 years.
The Central government has fixed the weight of the Indian Reference Man at 60 kgs and the Indian Reference Woman at 55 kgs. This will henceforth be taken as the standard weight for Indian adult. The earlier values were 55 kgs for man and 45 kgs for woman, fixed before Independence.
According to the new anthropometric values suggested by the experts committee on daily recommended dietary allowance, appointed by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the ideal or reference man of India is between 18 and 29 years of age and weighs 60 kgs with a height of 1.73 metres and a body mass index of 20.3. He is free from disease and physically fit for active work.
In case of ideal Indian woman or Indian reference woman, the age has been fixed between 18 and 29 years of age. She should weigh 55 kgs with a height of 1.61 metres, a body mass index of 21.2 and free from disease. She should also be non-pregnant and non-lactating and physically fit for active work.
Based on these new anthropometric values, the total calorie intake for an Indian adult man has been fixed at 2320 kilo calories if he leads a sedentary life. The values for moderate work and heavy work respectively are 2730 kilo calories and 3490 kilo calories. The corresponding figures for the ideal Indian woman are 1900 kcal, 2230 kcal and 2850 kcal.
"For any nation to have its own recommended dietary allowance there needs to be an ideal or reference man and woman. We have arrived at the new values for the Indian reference man and woman based on the present day conditions," Dr BS Narasinga Rao, chairman of the experts committee told this correspondent.
The earlier values were fixed before Independence (1936-1944) on the recommendations of the committee of nutrition, British Medical Association, and the health committee, League of Nations. The nutrition requirements for Indians were then fixed based on the values for the Indian reference man at 55 kgs and Indian reference woman at 45 kgs. Now this has been revised to 60 kgs (up by 5 kgs) for man and 55 kgs (up by 10 kgs) for woman.
To arrive at the ideal man or woman of India, nutrition experts identify members of well-to-do, elite population with no nutritional constraints and with good health care. The anthropometric measurements of that select population are collected to set up local reference standards.
The ideal Indian man on each working day should be engaged in 8 hours of occupation which usually involves moderate activity, while when not at work he spends 8 hours in bed, 4-6 hours in sitting and moving about, 2 hours in walking and in active recreation or household duties. The same set of rules also applies for the ideal Indian woman.