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One-year experiment from March: Nutritionist aims to bring Mumbai cops into shape

The plan, which was started as a pilot in the western suburbs last October, focuses on helping the police cut down on obesity, acidity and insomnia.

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai |
March 2, 2017 3:09:50 am
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Mumbai police is set to begin a one-year experiment with celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar in a bid to whip the force into shape. The plan, which was started as a pilot in the western suburbs last October, focuses on helping the police cut down on obesity, acidity and insomnia. The state of Mumbai Police’s health came into the spotlight after writer Shobhaa De tweeted a picture of Daulatram Jogawat, a police inspector from Madhya Pradesh, and captioned it “heavy bandobast,” in an attempted barb at Mumbai Police. Jogawat, who suffers an insulin imbalance, has been offered medical help by doctors in Mumbai.

Between October and January 2016, Diwekar made personnel at eight police station, located between Bandra and Andheri West in Mumbai Police’s Zone 9, fill out forms detailing their daily lives — the hours they spend commuting to and from work, the number of hours they work and sleep, and the number of cups of tea they consume. The answers only underscored the stressful conditions that the police functions in.

Diwekar’s team then attended morning parades at police stations to dispense one simple tip every day. “The first month, we gave four tips on food, the month after four tips on exercise, and last month (we gave) four tips on sleeping,” said Diwekar, adding that she had to ensure that the tips were doable and impactful. The first month, Diwekar said, was spent dispelling myths and misinformation among the police about food. “Bananas make for a great breakfast, but a lot of them believed that they are fattening,” she said. Diwekar’s tips on food, exercise and sleep have been collected into a Marathi booklet which will be launched by Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar on March 8.

“It is not that they don’t want to bring changes in fitness and health. They just don’t have the right information,” Diwekar said. At the end of January, Diwekar had the police in zone 9 fill out exit surveys to gauge the impact of the short programme. “Every police official in zone 9 has started implementing at least one of the 12 tips. They look leaner, acidity levels are low, they sleep better, and their energy levels are up,” she said. However, a police constable posted in Andheri said that it isn’t always possible to implement Diwekar’s tips. “The current food plan is well intentioned but cannot be successful unless the strength of the police force is increased and an eight-hour work day is introduced,” he said.

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