Prevention of metabolic disorders

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 Prevention of metabolic disorders

Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

Pakistan’s National Health indicators are alarmingly dismal, getting worse day by day. Pakistan has one of the highest incidence of communicable diseases in the world and the highest death toll in all age groups (from still births, newborns, infants, child, maternal and adult mortality and one of the shortest life spans even amongst the SAARC countries. The more worrying aspect is phenomenal increase in devastating non communicable diseases affecting adversely Nation’s health, economy and future.

The key to the resolution of the problem lies in promotion of health and prevention of disorders. It is scientifically well established that the basis of metabolic syndrome comprising diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, heart attacks, strokes etc. lies in the abdominal i.e. central obesity. In order to prevent these disorders the abdominal girth (i.e. the midpoint between the lower end of the rib cage and the upper end of the pelvic bone) should be less than 35.5 inches in males and 31.5 inches in females in South Asians even less in short heighted individuals.

In our milieu the central obesity has assumed epidemic proportions causing exponential increase in metabolic disorders, causing high morbidity and mortality. In addition to genetic lineage, the preventable causes of the central obesity are taking high calorie unhealthy diet rich in sugars, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and low in vegetables/ fruits, pulses, nuts, seeds i.e. plant –based diet, fiber and lack of exercise.

The problem can be resolved by adopting health friendly diet and staying active, doing exercises. Not only developed Nations have achieved remarkable success in overcoming these disorders but the developing Nations including the SAARC countries like Sri Lanka have attained successful outcome equivalent to the developed countries. Even Bangla Desh has achieved considerable success in a short period. Unfortunately Pakistan’s health indicators are very discouraging.

There is a dire need to start a National awareness campaign of prevention and promotion of health lead by our National leaders who should lead by examples as is being done by the world leaders, Mr. Obama and his wife are leading an active health campaigns in the USA, Mr. Modi is also campaigning in India by leading exercises campaigns and also other leaders in the world including the British Royal family by setting a fine example of good health.

Pakistani leaders, PM and President should also lead by examples, reducing their weight, obliterating abdominal bulges. The ruling junta including the supreme commander of the armed forces should be physically and mentally fit to efficiently lead the Nation. Our National sports standards have plummeted precipitously with the decline of National health setting a vicious cycle. Our performance in sports has abysmally fallen low-also economic output. It is well known adage- health is wealth. It should receive top priority.

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