‘Pedal for health’ launched in capital

Initiative to promote cycling for better health and environment

Our Correspondent March 11, 2019
Girls riding cycles at the inaugural ceremony of Bicycle Lane in Islamabad on November 13, 2016. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to boost an active and healthy lifestyle through environment-friendly activities, the health ministry on Sunday launched the ‘Pedal for Health’ initiative in the federal capital.

“This initiative will help create awareness against non-communicable diseases, environmental protection and encourage the population to take up healthy activities,” explained Federal Health Minister Aamir Mehmood Kiani while addressing an awareness seminar called “Pedal for Health” to launch the initiative in the fed eral capital on Sunday. Federal Minister on Kashmir Affairs Ali Amin Gandapur was also present.

Kiani said physical inactivity has been recognised as one of the leading factors for the rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mortality globally.

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But regular physical activity, such as cycling and running, helps lower the risk of several chronic and non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and depression.

Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), he said that people who lack physical activity have been identified as the third leading risk factor for global mortality with six per cent of deaths globally while physical inactivity is also estimated to be the main cause for 27 per cent of diabetes cases and approximately 30 per cent of ischemic heart disease cases.

“Cycling can improve both population health and the environment,” he added, noting that the healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults.

The health minister went on to enumerate that cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

“Cycling strengthens heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. Therefore cycling has been identified as an important element of physical activity that has been contributing towards the control of NCDs,” he said.

The health minister stated that to tackle NCDs and the risk factors involved, the ministry had initiated the process of developing a National NCD Action Plan for the prevention and control of NCDs.

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In this regard, a task force for NCDs and a technical working group for NCDs has been appointed in which all relevant stakeholders are included.

They will develop the national plan for the prevention of non-communicable diseases in collaboration with NCD focal persons from all provinces, experts on the subject matter and international partners.

Another aim of this action plan will be to integrate the NCDs control and management at primary healthcare level facilities.

Essential drugs and basic equipment will be provided and awareness raising and preventive measures will be promoted, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2019.


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