It’s Time To Get Our Nutrients Right

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Pakistan has a significant number of recurring diseases and some, if not all, are easily treatable but have been costing lives. These include malaria, chikungunya and dengue.

While the burden of the eradication of these diseases falls on the government as the uncleaned garbage gives way to these illnesses, it is also important for us to make smarter choices when deciding on what we should eat.

Related: Dengue Outbreak: What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

“If gym is part of fitness, then nutrition is the heart of fitness,” resonated at the recent seminar titled ‘When Nutrition Becomes Therapy’ held by the International Center for Chemical and Biological Science (ICCBS) in collaboration with Searle and IBL HealthCare.

With doctors in the audience, the seminar looked towards informing the medical fraternity about the nutrition intake of an average Pakistani so that they can guide their patients better.

Here is what is needed in the country to make nutrition a priority:

  1. Awareness and Knowledge

It was a common consensus among the medical fraternity present that Pakistan lacks the knowledge and awareness about the adequate level of nutritional intake. From the developmental years of a child’s brain, the nutrition provided is less than what it should be.

“Mothers have not been trained to take proper care of a child in Pakistan,” said Dr Iqbal Ahmed Memon, a well-known pediatrician in the country. He further mentioned that the introduction of gadgets, such as, tablets and smartphones at an early age acts as a killer of nurture.

Related: How Abusing Screen Time Is Affecting Our Eyes

  1. Nutrition – A Lifestyle Change

The diabetes epidemic in Pakistan is alarming, as Dr Sarah Ikram, consultant nutritionist at the South City Hospital, mentioned that she had patients as young as 21 years of age that were pre-diabetic.

In fact, not just diabetes but obesity is also becoming a growing concern in the country. According to the PDHD 2013 survey, prevalence of obesity in Pakistan was 11% females and 19% males in rural areas, and 23% men and 40% women in urban centers.

This calls for a complete diet change, says Dr Ikram. “People also assume that fruits are fat causing, but that is a myth,” she says adding that we should educate not medicate patients.

  1. Educate Don’t Medicate

Dr Ikram’s approach of dealing with patients is to listen to them, understand their lifestyle and then guide them accordingly.

And to be able to create awareness about ‘nutrition therapy’, Dr Ikram suggests we have to understand that BMIs of Pakistanis are not equal to that of the West and hence, our approach should be catered to accordingly.

Pakistan’s malnutrition problem along with that of recurring diseases will partly be solved if Pakistanis start eating right. And as Dr Ikram says, we don’t have to spend much on food and go for fad diets that are trending. Our very own roti salan can do the trick.

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