Diabetic children increasing NCDAL to meet fast food producers

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By 2017-11-14

BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

The Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance Lanka (NCDAL), of which the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka is a part, is planning on holding discussions with stakeholders in the fast food production industry, with the view of modifying their production line.

Apart from diabetes, the NCDAL concerns itself with heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and also diseases caused by the use of alcohol and tobacco.

Director of NCDAL and the National Diabetes Centre and Secretary of the Association, Dr. Mahen Wijesuriya said that the number of children under the age of 10, visiting doctors with full-blown diabetes is increasing.

He revealed that in the under 20 age category, 8.1% showed an abnormal blood sugar estimation while in the 22 to 40 age category, 22% were in the relatively high risk category to become diabetic, where the sole remedy is for one to actively protect oneself from such.

"Consuming food in moderation, eating plenty of vegetables and fruits along with minimally milled rice and rice flour, avoiding refined food, and in general, a slow food intake as opposed to a fast food intake is advised for all persons," he explained.

"Now that we have, for starters, got into the Budget 2018 via the introduction of the imposing of a tax of 50 cents per gram of sugar in soft drinks, the next enemy is bread, refined starch and trans fat," he said.

The plan is to impact the school canteen operators and the fast food producers. "We do not wish to fight them. We want them to modify their production line to make the food and drink that are served less dangerous."

Once the Government provides the required coverage for this, the next step is that the NCDAL will haveto sit down with each individual stakeholder or a group of stakeholders producing similar food and drink and discuss in this regard, he stated.

"The issue of what is happening to our children is one of serious concern. Obesity and diabetes in children is increasing. There is a relationship between obesity and diabetes, and nutrition, specifically of sugar consumption and also exercise, or appropriately the lack of it. Food habits have deteriorated over a period of time. The majority eat from commercial places where there is a question of quality because food is laced with sugars, fats, and refined starches, all of which combine to produce a feeling of happiness, albeit temporary, but contribute to making the individual ill in the future. We have to educate children, parents and teachers," Dr. Wijesuriya emphasized.

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