UVAS conference calls for setting up of ‘Nutrition and Dietetic Council’, redefining food rules

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LAHORE (20-3-14): The two-day International Conference and Expo on “Recent Developments in Human Nutrition” organised by the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) concluded here Thursday with a strong call to establish a ‘Nutrition and Dietetic Council’ in the country to regulate and monitor human nutrition sector. It also stressed the need to redefine the food rules according to the local needs and involve local governments in sanitation and surveillance programs to prevent sale of low quality food.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha chaired the concluding session and spoke about the importance of human nutrition and food safety and strongly suggested establishment of a council to regulate human nutrition and dietetics degree programs and human resource development in this sector.

The Vice-Chancellor said that “innovate and collaborate to intervene malnutrition” was the core theme of the conference, for which total 350 abstracts were received. Of them 48 papers were orally presented in nine technical sessions while 104 through posters.

Nutritionists Association of Pakistan President Dr Mussadiq Asif said that the association would pursue the recommendations of the conference, especially the establishment of a ‘Nutrition and Dietetic Council’.

Dr Sarfraz Ahmed presented the conference recommendations on every aspect on human nutrition, be that food safety and security, public health nutrition, or nutraceutical/functional foods and clinical and therapeutic nutrition, etc.

The recommendations stressed the need to redefine the food rules according to the local needs and priorities ,  involve local governments in sanitation and surveillance programs to prevent sale of low quality food, keep records of food-borne illnesses, mandatory fortification of wheat flour with iron and folic acid and its enforcement and establish specialized food authorities.

The recommendations also called for creating awareness about nutrition and life skills counseling, ethnic specific orientation and training of schoolteachers on nutrition, provision of healthy nutritious food in school canteens and include nutrition, health, hygiene education modules in schools.

About public health nutrition, the recommendations urged the need for promotion and maintenance of good health, advise more fluid intake and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, provide more nutrient dense diet to compensate for nutrient losses after ailments, establish well-equipped clinical and nutrition laboratories for research on epidemiology and treatment of this diseases with food.

About  Nutraceutical/functional foods, the conference recommended that food and nutrition must be a joint ventures of health and food professionals while in  clinical and therapeutic nutrition it recommended developing dietary guidelines for common diseases with the help of national/provincial and international health departments.

Conference Organizing Secretary Dr Muhammad Nasir said that 12 training workshops and eight cooking competitions were also arranged in various educational institutions as part of the conference. First time in Pakistan, Dr Nasir said, the conference has used complete online and paperless methodology for abstract submission, review, acceptance, management, conference proceedings and registration, etc.

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