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ITA plans to encourage children to drink tea for health

No to other beverages, Yes to THE CUP THAT CHEERS


GUWAHATI, July 9: In 1989, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that one of the major factors to human longevity is to consume more tea and less smoking. Nearly three decades later, the Indian Tea Association (ITA) has focused on the health benefits of tea ¯ this time to attract children to drinking tea.

The ITA, the apex and oldest organization of tea producers is planning to promote the beverage among children by organizing various events in schools, as the industry lobby seeks to reach out to the consumers that it believes are fast turning to coffee and other beverages due to their more contemporary image.

“In many countries including Iran and Pakistan children are encouraged to drink tea instead of other beverages. But the number of children drinking tea especially in urban India is relatively less despite the fact that the beverage has health benefits. So we are planning to create awareness about health benefits of tea among school children so that they start drinking the beverage,” ITA chairperson Azam Monem told The Sentinel.

Monem said the ITA will soon engage a reputed advertising firm to prepare a detailed project report to carry out the promotional campaign on tea consumption among school children. The campaign will also target parents and school teachers so that they play their roles to encourage children to drink tea.

According to experts, tea is one of the few natural beverages in the world that does not contain salt, fat or any other high calorie substance. “Tea contains more than 450 organic compounds, and more than 15 inorganic minerals. Most components boost health and aid in disease prevention,” a doctor at Gauhati Medical College & Hospital said.

The United Nations last year called upon the tea industry to focus on the health benefits of tea to attract a younger generation to drinking tea. The appeal was made by the working group on global markets analysis and promotion, part of the Inter-Governmental Group on tea under the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO IGG) of the UN.

The per capita consumption of tea in India is as low as nearly 750 gm per annum though it is the largest producer of black tea in the world. The figure is lower than that in Pakistan, where the per capita consumption of tea is about 1.2 kg per annum, and other tea-drinking nations like UK and Ireland where it is even higher at 1.6 kg and 2.3 kg respectively.