Incidence of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and cancer related diseases are currently on the rise in Nepal, show studies. These diseases are also causing an increase on mortality and morbidity rates among youths, according to a recent data. Life style choices, including lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking and fatty food are the main causes of those non-infectious diseases among younger population, pointed out experts during an interaction programme organized by Nepal Heart Foundation in Kathmandu on Monday.
Extensive medical research on impact of fatty food on health shows that trans-fat containing food, mainly food items prepared in industrially produced trans-fat, or in oils that are repeatedly heated are more harmful to health, they said.
“Annually over 500,000 deaths are caused by cardiovascular and it is extremely important and urgent to take appropriate actions to control the use of trans-fat to save lives, especially of the Nepali youth,” remarked Balaram Neupane, chairman, Nepal Hearth Foundation (NHF).
“WHO has set a target of 2% or less of trans-fat in food by 2023; and over 40 countries have already achieved the target by implementing various programs, policies and regulations to control it,” he pointed out. “NHF is committed to the advocacy against trans-fat and to raise awareness of its harmful effects; and we welcome any opportunity to collaborate to do so,” he noted.
“NHF, too, has been interacting with various governmental and nongovernmental agencies for the last 6 months to raise awareness of the issue as well to advocate for the control of trans-fat in foods consumed in Nepal.”
“The government of Nepal has, recently, approved the Non-communicable Diseases Multi-Sectorial Action Plan 2021-25 that includes, among others, commitment to reduce industrially produced trans-fat levels in food items to 2% by 2023,” according to Dr. Roshan Pokharel, Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population.
“Additionally, the action plan has also adopted WHO’s REPLACE strategy to control trans-fat. NHF is grateful to the government of Nepal for taking these crucial steps in addressing the increasing health issues among Nepalese,” Pokharel also informed that the government is working out to prepare various legislation to control the use of trans-fat in foods.
“It is also true that policy by itself is not adequate to tackle the issue; only effective implementation would lead to desired success,” pointed out experts on the occasion. “It is essential to formulate appropriate legal provisions to strengthen the policy, and NFIF would like to draw the attention of the concerned authorities to do so,” remarked Mohan Krishna Maharjan, spokesperson at the Department of Food and Quality Control.
Maharjan urged the consumers not to use cooking oil repeatedly and also change the life style as preventive measure against heart related problems. “Control of trans-fat will save lives of many Nepalese and we would also like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the need to augment laboratory and human resources capabilities of appropriate agencies to do their jobs effectively.”