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September 24, 2019

Truncal obesity among Pakistani men is the mother of all diseases: experts


September 24, 2019

Cardiologists at an awareness session on Sunday urged people to beware of their truncal obesity, or their growing tummies due to lack of exercise and overeating, saying it was the root cause and mother of all diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, and urged people to immediately adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent themselves from heart attacks and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

They deplored that children in Pakistan as young as five to ten years of age were developing tummies due to lack of sports facilities, use of modern gadgets and eating unhealthy, junk food.

They added that these children and youngsters were more prone to developing cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle ailments, including diabetes and high blood pressure, which also contributed to heart diseases.

At the same time, a large number of people, including youngsters, were in the habit of smoking and eating tobacco, they deplored and warned that smokers and tobacco eaters were at a very high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, while their risk multiplied when they lived a sedentary life and refrained from adopting heart-healthy practices.

The awareness session had been organised by the Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman Memorial Society, Jang Group of News Papers, in collaboration with a local pharmaceutical company. It was addressed by Prof Ejaz Vohra, Prof Ishtiaq Rasool, Prof Feroz Memon, Prof Dr Mansoor Ahmed, Dr Fawad Farooq, Dr Abdur Rasheed, Prof Tariq Ashraf and Prof Khalida Soomro, while Wasif Nagi, chairman of the MKRMS, also spoke on the occasion.

Eminent physician Prof Ejaz Vohra spoke on the importance of lifestyle changes to prevent cardiovascular diseases as well as other ailments, saying sedentary lifestyle was leading to diabetes and hypertension, which were two important risk factors for causing heart attacks. He added that lack of exercise and use of unhealthy diet were the most important reasons behind causing heart attacks. He maintained that the unhealthy style of living which include refraining from exercise and physical activity, and using unhealthy and junk food were giving a rise to obesity, diabetes and hypertension, saying these were the main contributors of cardiovascular disease.

He urged parents to not only adopt a healthy lifestyle themselves but also compel their children to indulge in sports and other physical activities.

Dr Fawad Farooq, who moderated the awareness session, spoke on the importance of daily exercise, and said people needed to understand that walking 150 minutes a week, 40 minutes of exercise was as important for them as eating or sleeping.

Dr Mansoor Ahmed, a leading cardiologist was of the opinion that treatment of cardiovascular diseases is unaffordable for the most of the people in Pakistan, and that in these circumstances, the only option left for the poor segment of the society was to improve their health by living a healthy life, which included doing regular exercise and eating heart-healthy food.

General Secretary Pakistan Cardiac Society Prof Ishtiaq Rasool termed the truncal obesity the mother of all diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, and urged the people to reduce their weight by walking as much as possible, eating healthy food with less oil and more fibre including raw vegetables and fruits.

Renowned cardiologist Prof Feroz Memon said smoking, obesity, diabetes and hypertension were the leading cause of heart attacks in Pakistan, where people as young as 30 to 40 years of age were taken to cardiac facilities for treatment of heart attack. He urged the government and the private sector to come up with plans to reduce cardiovascular disease by promoting preventive measures.

Prof Tariq Ashraf from the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) said young people were acquiring cardiovascular diseases due to their lazy lifestyle. He added that children and youngsters were now being seen with tummies, which showed their unhealthy lifestyle and focus on eating junk food. He urged people to avoid eating carbohydrate-rich diet as well as eating refined sugar, and to resort to physical activity to avoid having heart attacks at a younger age.

Prof Khalida Soomro deplored that women in Pakistan were not in the habit of doing exercise, walking and indulging in physical activities due to our cultural restrictions. He added that due to that, they were equally prone to having heart attacks despite having some hormonal protection, especially given to females by the nature.

She urged women to resort to some sort of physical activity at their homes, including skipping rope and doing their household work regularly, using stairs instead of taking escalators and lifts. He added that women should also concentrate on preparing health food for themselves and their family members.