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New dietary guidelines launched.

ISLAMABAD -- Dietary guidelines launched on Wednesday have recommended a reduced intake of bakery items and junk food and greater consumption of food prepared at home, as well as other healthy eating practices to reduce the risk of diseases.

The Pakistan Dietary Guidelines for Better Nutrition were launched by the Planning Commission's nutrition section and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

FAO nutrition expert Dr Nomeena Anees began her presentation on the guidelines with the famous quote from Hippocrates: 'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.'

She emphasised the role of diet in everyday life and its impact on physical, cognitive and social domains as well as productivity and socioeconomic development.

Emphasising the importance of good nutrition for health, National Health Services Parliamentary Secretary Dr Nausheen Hamid said that nutritious food during pregnancy and exclusive breastfeeding of children during the first six months and continued breastfeeding for up to two years with complementary feeding is very essential for raising nutrition status of the children and appropriate diet is one of the most important factors for maintaining health and nutritional wellbeing.

'However, an imbalanced diet leads to increased health issues and affects nourishment in different stages of life, consequently creating physical and cognitive deficits. We are planning to reduce the sugary foods, drinks and junk foods through legislation and quality improvement to overcome malnutrition,' she said.

She added that public awareness messages for which time has to be allocated under Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Rules may be used for nutritional awareness.

Planning Parliamentary Secretary Kanwal Shauzab said nutritional awareness has emerged as the critical aspect to address malnutrition, which plays a pivotal role in overall nutrition and health wellbeing.

These guidelines provide a framework to guide the population in the selection and consumption of a variety of safe and nutritious foods that are easily available, affordable, meet daily nutritional requirements, boost the immune system against communicable and non-communicable diseases and promote healthy lifestyles, she said.

She added that these guidelines also serve as an essential resource for policymakers, programme managers and professionals engaged in promoting the nutritional and health status of the population.

She added that the federal government is in process of developing its 12th five year plan (2018-23) and nutrition is included as a separate chapter to address malnutrition.

Planning Commission Member (Food Security and Climate Change) Dr Mohammad Azeem Khan said that despite self-sufficiency in food, the country is confronted with the challenges of hunger, malnutrition and disease which need to be addressed through sustainable, cost-effective and culturally acceptable nutrition interventions.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 20, 2018
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