ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Planning and Development/Reform Commission of the Government of Pakistan in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations launched the ‘Pakistan Dietary Guidelines for Better Nutrition’ (PDGN) in Islamabad Wednesday. Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Development and Reform Ms Kanwal Shauzab was the chief guest on the occasion.
FAO has jointly developed these comprehensive dietary guidelines for the general public to adopt healthy eating practices and prevent and reduce the risk of infectious and chronic diseases.
Welcoming participants, FAO Representative in Pakistan Ms Mina Dowlatchahi said: It is an opportune time to disseminate the dietary guidelines, when the country is confronted with challenges of diet associated conditions. The dietary guidelines have been developed through an extensive consultative process involving all relevant stakeholders, technical experts & professionals from across the country. This launch is also a call for action for people from all walks of life including policy makers, planners, academia, civil society, UN agencies, private sector and public to follow for achieving healthy and productive life.”
Speaking on the occasion, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Development and Reform Ms Kanwal Shauzab appreciated the initiative and called it a result of a longstanding partnership between the government of Pakistan and FAO and other partners.
She also said the country-specific food-based dietary guidelines are important for maintaining healthy dietary practices, weight management, and making smart food choices to prevent nutritional disorders. She also said that the present government has given a high priority to address human malnutrition by focusing on its education and awareness.
This launch was also attended by representatives of various UN agencies to promote the use of these guidelines in Pakistan. Ms Katherine Goos, Deputy Country Head of WFP and Ms Sarwat Adnan participated on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan. Mr Aslam Shaheen, Chief Nutritionist also spoke on the occasion. The guidelines called for a balanced diet in ‘One Plate’ composed of meat and pulses, cereals and cereal products, vegetables, fruits, milk and milk products, and edible oil/ghee. These guidelines will be useful for multi-sectoral professionals and policy makers to formulate appropriate policy, plan and programmes. These guidelines will also facilitate provincial good and drug authorities to implement food quality standards in their respective provinces for ensuring that foods are safe and of better quality.
Diet is one of the strongest determinants of health and nutritional status. The balanced diet provides adequate nutrients at different stages of life for good nourishment to be healthy; physically & cognitively. Good nutrition is thus important for enhanced productivity, individual’s performance which implicates into socio-economic development and economic prosperity of the country. Nutrition is as such considered a maker and marker of the sustainable development.