July 29: The ideal Indian man is now five kg heavier and the ideal woman weighs 10 kg more than their ancestors in the pre-Independence era. The Centre has fixed the weight of the Indian “reference man” at 60 kg and the Indian “reference woman” at 55 kg.
These figures will now be taken as the standard weight for Indian adult. The earlier values were 55 kg for the man and 45 kg for the woman, and were fixed before Independence.
These new anthropometric values were suggested by an expert committee on daily recommended dietary allowance appointed by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
According to the committee, the ideal or reference man of India is between 18 and 29 years of age and weighs 60 kg 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.
Likewise, the reference woman is aged between 18 and 29 and weighs 55 kgs with a height of 1.61 metres, a body mass index of 21.2. 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 2,320 kilo calories if he leads a sedentary life.
The values for moderate work and heavy work respectively are 2,730 kilo calories and 3,490 kilo calories. The corresponding figures for the ideal Indian woman are 1,900 kcal, 2,230 kcal and 2,850 kcal.
“For any nation to have its own recommended dietary allowance there needs to be an ideal or reference man and woman,” said Dr B.S. Narasinga Rao, chairman of the experts committee. “We have arrived at the new values based on the present day conditions,” he said.
The earlier values were fixed before Independence (1936-1944) on the recommendations of the committee of nutrition, British Medical Association, and the health committee of the League of Nations.