Pakistan Faces Diabetes Epidemic: Pakistan faces a troubling rise in diabetes, with one in every three adults grappling with the condition, earning the country the top spot globally for diabetes prevalence.
The alarming trend is linked to unhealthy diets, notably high sugar and industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA). Evidence indicates that iTFAs are commonly found in everyday items like banaspati ghee, cooking oils, bakery goods, desserts, and street foods.
The TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign collaborators issued a press release on World Diabetes Day, stressing the concerning link between diabetes and iTFA intake.
Financial Toll and Projections: Managing diabetes cost an estimated $2640 million in Pakistan in 2021, as per the International Diabetes Federation.
If immediate policy action isn’t taken, projections suggest a staggering 62 million Pakistanis could be living with diabetes and its complications by 2045.
Transform Pakistan Campaign: To address this crisis, the Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA) initiated the TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign, supported by the Global Advocacy Incubator for Health (GHAI), Ministry of National Health Services, and civil society actors like the Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI).
Call for Government Action:Afshar Iqbal, Director of Communications and Advocacy at PYCA, urges the government to adopt best practices. Under the TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign, they demand a mandatory limit of 2gm of iTFAs per 100gm of fat in all food items nationwide.
Evidence for Regulation: Munawar Hussain, In-Country Coordinator for GHAI, emphasizes evidence from countries regulating trans-fats, indicating a potential reduction in diabetes, heart diseases, and other non-communicable diseases.
Reducing Deaths through Policies: Following these global examples, Pakistan can reduce deaths and diseases by introducing best practice policies aligned with WHO guidelines.
This includes lowering iTFA consumption, taxing sugary drinks, and introducing warning labels on ultra-processed foods. Read this Three coaches who can replace Mickey Arthur after CWC 2023
iTFA Regulation Progress: Mukhtar Ahmed, Executive Director of CPDI, highlights progress in iTFA regulations.
While some items have regulations, others like chocolates, desserts, noodles, and commonly consumed street foods lack iTFA limits, posing a significant threat to public health.
Government Urged to Act Swiftly: Given the severity of the issue, swift government action is crucial to protect Pakistanis from the escalating diabetes rates.
Regulations on iTFA, taxing sugary drinks, and warning labels on all ultra-processed foods are essential steps for a healthier future. Also read US Need Based Scholarship for Pakistani Students