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RAWALPINDI: Obesity has become common all over the world and there is a need to develop a wide range of guidelines to prevent and treat it.

To ensure that people maintain a healthy lifestyle early in life, safe places need to be created in cities and towns for walking, cycling, playgrounds and recreation. Children need to be taught to develop healthy eating habits and reduce their sugar intake.

These views were voiced by former Pakistan Army Surgeon General Retired General Kamal Akbar on Wednesday during an outreach program organized by the National Heart Association of Pakistan (Panah) in association with the Women Development and Welfare Center on World Obesity Day.

Panah Secretary General Sanaullah Ghumman said obesity was one of the world’s biggest public health challenges, affecting 800 million people worldwide.

“It is a life-threatening disease that doubles the risk of hospitalization for Covid-19. Obesity rates have almost tripled since 1975 and the number of children and adolescents has almost quintupled.

“Obesity affects people of all ages in developed and developing countries and its causes need to be addressed to reduce the risk of developing the disease,” he added.

Food Policy Program consultant Munawar Hussain said 70% of disease was caused by obesity.

“Four in 10 people are obese, one in 10 children under five are obese, a number that has doubled in the last seven years. The treatment of obesity costs 1 trillion rupees globally which affects the economy. Obesity causes a number of diseases including heart, diabetes, cancer, one of the main causes of these diseases being the excessive consumption of sugary drinks. People and children who consume sugary drinks daily are easy targets for disease,” he said.

Panah vice-president, retired Colonel Shakeel Mirza, said obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and stroke, as well as various types of cancer.

Women’s Development and Welfare Center President Iram Mumtaz and Deputy Director Yumna Mir said life is a blessing and it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of it.

They said that women, children and adults are important for the development of the country, their healthy lifestyle is very important.

In order to stay healthy, they said, “we need to make fresh, natural foods, exercise, walking and hard work a part of our lives.”

Posted in Dawn, March 3, 2022