Published by: Mandira
Published Date: 12 Jan 2022
Consumer health is a recently introduced subject in the context of our country. It has been started in Nepal with the objective of making consumers aware of their health. In the beginning, the concept of consumer health was initiated keeping in mind the adverse effect to consumer while buying and using the medicines randomly. Now, the scope of consumer health has been widened as it deals with all kinds of health problems created due to the consumption of the goods and products available in the market.
Introduction to consumer health
The person who avails the services or purchases the available goods from the market is called a consumer. In this sense, all of us at one time or other purchases goods and services, and thus we all are consumers. In other words, we may say that the consumer is the individual who purchases goods and services from the market for the personnel or family needs without the interest of profit. People buy food and drink, articles, clothes, medicines, etc. and use the health services facilities and workers. Needs of the people are unlimited.
In fact, consumer health deals with the decisions of the individuals made about the purchases and use of the available health products and services that will have a distinct effect on their health. In involves the economic or monetary aspects of health over which individuals have control. In brief, we can say that, The term consumer health refers to that are of health teaching concerned with giving consumers a background that will enable them to make sound decisions in the selection, purchase and use of professional health services and products.This also includes a consideration of health advertising by mass media of communication aimed at influencing such choices, and the topics of misinformation, misconceptions, fake quackery and superstitions which influence health attitudes and consequently health practices.
Consumer health education has been becoming more important day by day due to its following advantages.
The process of depending on the produced goods and services is increasing in this world along with the development of human civilization. Now, everything is produced in industries and made available in the market. People are largely dependent on the goods and products available in the market. Therefore, the societies especially of urban areas and developed countries have now become consumer society. If we look at the condition of rural and some primitive societies, people produce almost all the goods required for them and still practice barter system to fulfill their additional requirement. They do not totally depend on the goods and services of the market whereas the situation of urban and developed society is different.
The consumer society of urban areas and developed parts of the world has been facing many problems along with its development. Some of these problems and evils are unemployment, individualistic feelings, and unnatural competition in work performance, bribery, smuggling, etc. These all problems have directly made adverse impacts on consumer health because low quality, adultery and harmful goods are produced and sold in the market. Some people, anyhow, want to earn money and become rich overnight. When they involve in business, they produces low quality and even mix harmful things in good. This is in increasing trend in Nepal due to lack of proper supervision from the government and consumers. If the consumers are not aware, they cannot select right goods and become the victim of adulteration and wrong practices. Therefore, it is a high time for all of us to make consumers aware of the quality of goods that they consume and it is consume health education, which inspires the consumers to be more conscious and united to protect their health.
The importance of consumer health are given below:
Measure to protect Consumer Health
Consumers should be aware about their health. They should be organized to protest the fraudulent activities of industries in providing harmful goods. Several methods can be adopted for the protection of consumer health. Some of the methods are described below:
Use of Goods and Services:
Legal Provision On Consumer Health
Laws for the protection of consumer health was first introduced in the USA on March 15, 1963.In Nepal some legal protection of consumer health is implemented.
Consumer Protection Act, 2054 B.S.
Government has brought in force the Consumer Protection Act, 2054 B.S. It has provided the consumers the following rights:
There is legal provision of punishment on production and distribution of goods and services which have adverse affect and harmful to consumer health. The government has released an inspection officer's guidelines 2058 to conserve the consumer health and right. It has mentioned the duties of inspection officers.
Essential Goods and Controlling Act 2017 B.S.
This was the first law in Nepal for the protection of the consumers. It explained the price, distribution system, and punishment for deliberate creation of artificial security.
Food Act, 2023 B.S.
It explained the assessment of the quality food-stuff and medicine along with their sale and distribution system.
Standard Measurement Act, 2025 B.S.
This act was passed to bring unifirmity in measurement system under the Mint Department of Nepal Rastra Bank.
Black- marketing and other Social Offence Punishment Act, 2032
Legal action can be taken against black marketing, artificial shortage, adulteration and social offences, according to this act.
Drug Act, 2035 B.S.
Introduction to Quality food
Nutrition is one of the most important elements in determining whether a human being will have a physically strong, mentally alert and emotionally balanced existence. The person with poor nutrition is susceptible to infection and less resistance to disease. The illness becomes more serious and ends in earlier death in persons with poor nutrition. Proper nutrition of the people makes the nation stronger. In fact, the food that eats becomes a part of our body. The greatest single factor in the production of good health is the kind of food. The consumer should be well aware of the quality of food. Therefore, the food substances having proper nutritional values, appropriately prepared, attractive, tasting good, free from toxic substances and pathogens, free from unwanted mix up, fulfill requirements of health and supplies fuel for energy to carry out life and daily work is known as quality food. In short, we may say that the food substances accepted according to government regulations and fulfilling the basic requirements of the individual health may be classified as the quality food.
Low quality food
Food is a precious commodity; too precious to waste. Yet contaminated food is one other most common cause illness. In general, food is required for the maintenance of health, and for the fulfillment of needed energy and heat. Thus, the food must be safe, harmless, and uncontaminated. Besides this, their nutritive values must be maintained. However, the food is sometimes mixed with low quality substance, artificial substance, and color, chemical, adulterated, and prepared unhygienically. Thus, the food and food substances which do not have the nutritive values and quality due to the contamination, adulteration and ways of preparation or use of artificial means is called the tainted or low quality food.
In fact, is has been observed that food supplies, producers, distributor and merchants try to earn more profit by their malpractice. In this process, food is tainted and negatively affects health and leads to illness. In substances, chemicals and less nutritive values and adulteration decrease the quality of food and these types of tainted food have the negative effect on the health and create health hazards among consumers.
Causes of low quality food and its adverse effect on health
Consumption of low quality food causes an adverse effect on our health. We fall sick and become very weak if we consume low quality food due to many reasons. Some of them are given below:
Food Adulteration: Adulterated food is one that contains low quality substances or the substances which are fatal to our health. Mixing mustard oil with soya bean oil, mixing stone pebbles and dust in rice, high-quality fine rice mixed with coarse rice, etc. are a large number of food adulteration. Adulteration of food refers to a large number of unwise practices such as mixing, substituting, concealing of the quality, putting of decomposed food, giving false labels, etc. When farmers put more insecticides in their field crops in order to increase production, such crops are contaminated with insecticides and become very dangerous to the health of the people when consumed. Some profiteers add even toxic substances in the food materials, which may take the life of people when eaten. When people eat fresh food mixed with stale food, it causes diarrhea, dysentery, and even cholera.
Food making attractive with color: The concept of adding none- food substances to food products is not new. Various now- nutritive substances are added internationally to improve the appearance of products. Sometimes, coloring agents are used in uncontrolled or indiscriminate quantity it may pose health hazards to consumers. In fact, the merchant or businessperson uses various colors to make the producers look attractive or improve its appearance. Adulterated food may cause allergy, throat or mouth infection, inching sensation, vomiting, poisoning, blindness, and sometimes this may even lead to death.
Food without nutritive elements: Some food items look very attractive and people buy them due to their attractive value. However, they may lack nutrients and nutritional value. Overcooked food, food prepared from solid, non-juicy part of the fruit after refining it and food mixed with artificial smell are not- nutritive foods. We can make our stomach full of these kinds of food items of such kinds of foods but we do not get nutrition from them. Therefore, continuous intake of this food causes malnutrition. These types of food make adverse affects on our health. Tinned food having the date expired and the food items, which are not conserved safely, create negative effects on our health.
The food which has nutritional values free from adulteration toxic substances is called quality of food or the food which contain protein , vitamins and minerals etc. are known as quality food. The food like rice, potato, milk etc is the example of the quality of food. Whereas the food which doesn't contain protein, vitamins, minerals etc and which is made by using harmful chemicals are known as low-quality foods. Some of the examples of low-quality food are biscuits , noodles , chocolates, cheese balls etc.
Quality food is that food which did not harm the body and help for the better development of the body and growth also. If there will be low quality of food then the people may suffer from different malnutrition and various another kind of diseases. The food should be clean and fresh so due to which people will be healthy.
There are many other characteristics of quality of food. Some of them are as followed :
There are some other factors that are very important for determining quality of food which are given below :
There should one types of food that we should take for everyday meal :
Low - Quality Food
The food which doesn't contain minerals , protein, and vitamins etc. are known as low -quality food. As we the food which is unhealthy or which is not good for the human is known as junk food. Food like biscuits, noodles, cheese ball and chocolates etc are the example of junk food. Some kind of food is unhealthy because due to impurity, the artificial method of preparation of food artificial means etc .
Today's people are very busy due to which they don't have time to cook food. So , nowadays noodles, biscuits, ice-cream etc. are being more used. So people are being sicker and unhealthy more and more. At the same time, there should be proper awareness among the people for selection, preservation of the food.
Reasons for Low Quality of the Foods
Measures to Avoid Low -Quality Food
Harmful Product and Healthy Living
All the foods found in the market may not be fresh, good and healthy. Some foods may be adulterated, misbranded, and false labeled. They may be of less quality and quantity. These food do not provide necessary nutrients needed for our body instead they affect our health causing different types of diseases. Harmful products do not support the healthy living. We should not take foods that harm our body. We should be aware of the food products found in the market. We should be conscious about the quality and quantity of foods.
Harmful Products in Everyday Use
The population of the world is increasing day by day. As the population is increasing, people need more shelter, food, and clothes. To fulfill the needs and demands of increasing population (food), people use different chemical fertilizers to increase the crop yield so as to fulfill the shortage of food. When we consume the food products produced by using chemical fertilizers, it degrades our health inviting various types of diseases. Foods are also reserved or stored for many days using chemical fertilizers. Some of the harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco substances, and narcotic drugs also affect our body health. They are consumed daily by some people.
Though knowing about the effects of harmful products, people still use them for the new taste, colourful and attractive presentation, consumption style and ignorance. This use of harmful food products may affect our health status. People use different colours to make their food products more attractive and tasty.
There are various causes that make our food low quality. Some of them are discussed below:
The food which is mixed , substituted , false labeling , added toxicants is known as food adulteration.That kind of food always harm to our health and make us ill. Sometimes due to this kind of food people may lose their life also .
Some of the examples of adulteration of food are given below :
Attractive and Coloured Food:
Nowadays, people they know to eat lots of things. People they are adding colour to the food is increasing more nad more. The food substance like bread , cakes , sweets , jams , jellies , soft drinks , etc is the food when we can see the colour in the maximum amount. A non - nutritious substance which is added to food in a little amount to maintain the quality of the food is called food additives and colour. Due to the colour of food people can face the problems like an allergy of the food , food poisoning , vomiting etc. This types of things can take our life also. We can see in our surrounding in every substance there is colour. Not only in the food we can see colour in the substance like bags, radio, rope, cement etc. This types of things should be standardization of quality .
CosmeticGoods:Human beings they used different types of things to make them beautiful and attractiveness. People use different means of cosmetics such as cream , power , oil, kajal etc this types of things are known as cosmetic goods. This types of things are also of good quality and bad quality also . So , we should be very careful while it .
We human beings are god gifted. We should not use such a cosmetic goods . To be good and beautiful we should balance diet, physical exercise and free from any types of mental tension etc.
There is some result of harmful cosmetic goods on we human beings:
Precautionary Measures from the Use of Harmful Products
Harmful food products are very cheap. They are made using low-quality substances. Most of the people prefer to buy cheap food products due to poverty and unemployment. Due to the more attraction of consumer towards the cheap food products, these products are produced and distributed in large amount. Here, not only the manufacture but the wholesalers, and shopkeepers also take advantage of it. When people consume this product, it largely affects the health of the consumer inviting various types of diseases. If the trend of using harmful food products goes on increasing, some day all the people will suffer from health problems which will be very hard to cure. So, we should not consume the harmful food products. For the protection of consumer health, the government has made various plans and laws for the protection of people from harmful products.
Some of the precautions are discussed below for the reduction in the use of harmful products:
Planning for Healthy Life
Healthful life is very important for the physical and social development. We cannot do any work properly if we are not healthy. The health of an individual and family helps to promote the health condition of the society. It is a duty of everyone to keep our environment healthy.
Today's people are in high competition in increasing artificial beauty, neglecting their own natural beauty. In the course of increasing their artificial beauty, they use chemicals and makeup. They use such things to show their better personality. In fact, they are decreasing their natural beauty and finally it leads to spoiling their health.
Cosmetics are the substances used to enhance or protect the appearance of an odor of the human body. Cosmetic include skin care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks and many other types of products. A subset of cosmetics is called makeup, which refers primarily to colored products intended to alter the user's appearance.
The following are the major types of cosmetics:
Effects of Harmful Cosmetic Goods on Health
Nowadays, many people are in a competition of beautifying their body by the use of artificial means. They are forgetting their natural beauty. They use various kinds of cream, powder, oil, ointment, medicine, etc. to be more attractive and to boost up their personality. But these artificial things are not suitable to the people due to various reasons. Sometimes, pencil heel shoes cause accidents because our roads and paths are not smooth. Cream, ointment, oil, etc. may shape people ugly. Thus, one should not be unnecessarily attracted by advertisement of the things.
Some quality cosmetic goods are also available in the market but they also have strict directions for use. It means we have to take precaution while using different kinds of cosmetic goods. The company itself requests to use the products only after rest. It means these goods are usually harmful. We should be aware of the fact that our natural beauty may be lost in the name of beautifying our body by such artificial means. Physical beauty comes by taking physical exercises, cleanliness and having a balanced diet. It has found that friction of some ornaments has caused cancer. Therefore, clothes and ornaments should not be very heavy and tight.
Some adverse effects of these harmful cosmetic goods on health are given below:
Effects of quack medicine on health
Medicine and medical system play a vital role in improving status of people. In this regard, doctors and medical personnel have a major role for the diagnosis and proper treatment of the patient. They are regarded as the god by the patients because they save the life of thousands of people. But, nowadays, this holy profession has also been affected by increasing global commercialization. It fact, it is the greed and mercantile nature of human beings that quackery practices are increasing day to day.
The production and distribution of foul and duplicate medicine has been creating big problems in the society. he medicines that we require are easily available in the market. Sometimes when prescribed medicines are not available, the pharmacists give other medicines in substitute. It is actually a wrong practice. Every time, we should take the medicines as per the advice and prescription of the doctor. Only then the disease can be cured on right time with right dose. Medicine from pharmacy according to their own will or on the suggestion of a layman is very dangerous to our health. Similarly, the dose of medicines should be used, as per the suggestion of a doctor. Otherwise, the treatment may not be effective and more powerful medicines are required later for the same problem. Nowadays, a lot of fake medicine are produced and sold by profit oriented and bad people. These medicines are very dangerous and fatal to our health. These medicines, rather than curing people, create side effects and harmful reactions. Therefore, instead of curing, fake medicines increases illness.
Quack doctors and medicinal personnel:Quack doctors do not have necessary qualification and training. They do not have actual academic certificates but produce proxy one. The problems are created in health sectors when treatment is provided by these people having little knowledge. We all know that little knowledge is dangerous. Some people in Nepal, every year by the wrong treatment given by quacks doctors.
Overdose and over medicine:Quack doctors prescribe more than one medicine for an illness which can be cured by one type of medicine. They do not have proper diagnosis skill and think that at least one medicine can work if the patient is given types of medicine. It means they are not sure about the illness as well as treatment. As a result, patients have to buy only costly medicines unnecessarily but also face more side effects. It degrades the health of the people.
Use of expired medicine:Quack doctors give expired medicine to the people. Each packet of medicines has manufacturing and expiry date but open medicines do not have such dates. Quack doctors normally use open medicines which are already expired. There is strict warning in the packet of medicines that expired medicines should not be used at all.
Use of Hard medicine: Quack doctors give heard medicines to cure the illness very quickly. Some hard medicines cure fast. They leave a lot offside effects on our health. Even good medicines are harmful if we do not use them according to the direction and prescription of the doctor. The result of quack medicine is more severe and fatal. On the on hand quack medicine does not have appropriate elements to cure the illness and on the other hand, enough quantity of required elements is not mixed. Therefore, such medicines are extremely harmful to our health. We use quack medicines unknowingly as we are entrapped by a quack doctor. Some medicine companies bribe doctors by offering a huge amount of money to get their medicines sold. We must try our level best to avoid quack doctors and medicines.
The following measures can be taken to get rid of quackery:
Medicine play significant role in our health. Medicines are easily available in the market. Medicine seller gives medicine in market, but it is wrong and harmful practice. Medicine should be only given as suggested by doctors. Nowadays a lot of fake medicines is produced and sold. Such medicine is not suitable for our health and causes bad effects in our health.
We must have to be careful about quack doctors also. Such doctors are careless towards consumers health.
Quack doctors are not skilled:
Quack doctors are not qualified doctors. They do not have standard academic certificates. Problems is created when health service is provided by the persons without expertise on related field because health is sensitive sector.
Overdose and over medicine:
Quack doctors use more than one medicine for an illness which can be cured by one types of medicine. They do not have proper skill and feel that at least one medicine might cure diseases. Patients have to buy not only costly medicines but have to face various serious diseases and problems.
Use of expired medicine:
Quacks doctors use expired medicine due to which patients have to suffer from various kinds of problems. New types of illness are created because of such medicines.
Use of hard medicine:
Quack doctors use lots of hard diseases to cure diseases immediately. Some people are entrapped by quack doctors and use hard medicines. Such medicines may cause various serious problems.
The following advice are useful to get rid from quack doctors: