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February 26, 2020

Doctors, dieticians and sportsmen join hands to fight obesity


February 26, 2020

Doctors, dietitians and sportsmen at a news conference on Tuesday declared obesity a severe disease and the mother of most of the illnesses in the world, and called for promoting a healthy lifestyle, including daily exercise and consumption of healthy food.

“I urge people to adopt an active routine with daily workouts and consumption of balanced diet. Obesity is a disease as explained by doctors and it is a leading cause of various serious diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.

“We especially need to educate our children to have an active life and encourage them to regularly take part in some sporting activity,” said Younis Khan, renowned cricketer and former captain of the Pakistan cricket team, while speaking at a news conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Tuesday.

The news conference was organised by the ‘Fight Obesity’ initiative and it was addressed by leading bariatric surgeon Dr Tanvir Raazi Ahmed, eminent psychiatrist and Pakistan Psychiatry Society president Prof Iqbal Afridi, Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society (PNDS) president Fayza Khan and PNDS vice president Rabia Anwar.

On the occasion, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Fight Obesity initiative and the PNDS to regularly hold awareness activities regarding healthy lifestyle, promoting physical activities and consumption of balanced food.

Younis Khan maintained that people need to take care of themselves so that they could take care of their ailing parents and young children, adding that the adoption of a healthy lifestyle by taking healthy meals on time, taking out time for regular workouts and rising and going to bed early could ensure good healthy and prevention from several diseases.

To a query, he said most of the players of the Pakistan cricket team were fit and healthy and tried to remain agile, but the players should not be asked to prove their fitness after every three months as it put them in mental stress and deteriorate their performance.

Dr Tanvir Raazi Ahmed announced the launching of the ‘Fight Obesity’ initiative and told the news conference that they had decided to launch the campaign against obesity after it emerged that the Pakistani nation was facing an epidemic of obesity. Nearly 14 million children have become obese in Pakistan while the total number of people with obesity has crossed 45 million, which is an alarming sign.

“Unfortunately, obesity is the mother of most of the non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, various types of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer among women. It is estimated that around four million die annually due to obesity and diseases related to it alone in Pakistan,” Dr Raazi claimed and added that fortunately obesity was not only a preventable but also a treatable disease.

“Preventing obesity is possible through adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle and eating balanced food, while treatment of chronic obesity is possible through medicines and bariatric surgery combined with healthy lifestyle. Following extensive weight reduction, it has been observed that people can get rid of many ailments, including diabetes, hypertension and live a normal life.”

Eminent psychiatrist Prof Iqbal Afridi said obesity not only leads to mental issues but even mental issues often lead to obesity, which results in other physical health issues. He called for donating food regularly to those who were hungry so that the entire society could remain healthy and active.

“Obesity is one of the causes of depression and anxiety in both men and women. We need to educate people that consuming food in a limited quantity is a healthy practice and it would not only improve their physical health but would keep them mentally fit also,” he said and added that overeating was also associated with memory loss and several other mental ailments, which could be avoided by adopting healthy lifestyle.

Prof Afridi maintained that rising and going to bed early, eating simple and balanced food, regular exercise, sparing time for worship or meditation and adopting a positive approach were the key habits to prevent from mental issues, an these habits also had scores of physical health benefits.

Fayza Khan and Rabia Anwar said 50 per cent of the Pakistani population was suffering from different non- communicable diseases like diabetes and heart diseases and most of these diseases were preventable and related to overconsumption and bad choice of food, saying obesity was now a severe problem caused by consumption of unhealthy food and lack of physical activity.

“Unfortunately, focus of our authorities is on the establishment of health facilities instead of prevention from diseases. We don’t have enough resources to treat everybody so there is a need to promote healthy lifestyle and balanced diet,” Fayza Khan said and added that March would be observed as ‘Nutrition Month’ during which awareness activities would be held to promote healthy lifestyle throughout the country.

Rabia Anwar called for educating school-going kids about demerits of obesity and consumption of junk food, saying school canteens needed major reformation by banning sugary drinks and oily food and promoting fruits and home-cooked healthy food among children.