Pakistan dietary guidelines for better nutrition
The Pakistan Dietary Guidelines for Better Nutrition (PDGN) are comprehensive country specific guidelines for the general public to adopt healthy eating practices, and prevent and reduce the risk of infectious and chronic diseases. These guidelines are simple to adopt, provide age and gender appropriate and culturally acceptable options to choose nutritious foods.
The PDGN provide a thorough review of the food security, health and nutrition situation of the population and is cognizant of the fact that about half of the population is deficient in one or more of essential nutrients, reflecting unhealthy dietary practices compounded by poor hygiene and sanitation. Women and young children are more vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies, morbidity and mortality due to their compromised health and nutritional status. The PDGN highlight the predominant consumption of energy dense foods and monotonous diets by majority of the population.
The first national DGs were developed in 2005 by the Ministry of Health, Government of Pakistan to provide dietary recommendations for infants, children and adults. A lack of dietary diversification, unsatisfactory maternal and child care practices, industrialization and changing lifestyles in addition to natural catastrophes have led to a deteriorating nutrition situation in the country, that made it essential to review the relationship between diet and disease in the local context and revisit the existing food based dietary guidelines to mitigate the risk factors for under and over-nutrition and chronic diseases.
The revised PDGN have taken into account the local dietary practices, cooking methods, cost of diet, nutrition and health situation of the population, socio-cultural practices, economic and environmental conditions to meet the nutritional requirements of individuals by and large.
— SUN Movement Pakistan (@SUNMOVEMENTPAK) December 19, 2018
The PDGN provide a list of foods with portion sizes to help the general public make smart and healthy food choices for a healthy, long and active life. Women of childbearing age, preschool children and adolescents are more vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies due to their increased physiological requirements and prevailing dietary and socio-cultural practices. The development and implementation of age specific dietary guidelines thus is vital for maintaining nutritional balance, weight management, prevention of diseases and improving the quality of life of the population particularly the most vulnerable groups.