Women warned against harmful weight loss practices

KARACHI: Health experts have expressed their strong reservations about marketing gimmicks and bombardment of advertisements claiming weight loss of 20 ponds within 20, 30 or 40 days.

The experts warned women and young girls to avoid using such formulas which are usually in liquid forms without proper evidence of effectiveness as laboratory tests have confirmed it contains drug ingredients used for diabetes and thyroid.

They were speaking and sharing their experiences during 3rd public seminar on women health organized by National Forum for Environment & Health (NFEH) here in a local hotel. Seminar was attended by a large number of young girls and women.

Speakers included Dr Nyla Zahid, Oncologist, Liaquat National Hospital, Dr. NosheenFatima,Head of Department and expert ofOesteoporosis, Dr. Ziauddin University Hospital, Hakeem Syed Abdul Ghafar Agha, Consultant and author of book “Hakeem kaDasterkhan,” NausheenShahzad, Psychiatrist, Executive Director,Neuropsychology Centre Pakistan and Founder Chairperson Neuropsychology Society of Pakistan, and, family physician and television anchor Dr. Shahzad Ali.

Among others, Chairman NFEH Dr. Kaiser Waheed, President NFEH Naeem Qureshi, Chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) Saeed Allahwala, Director Trade and Culture, Italian Development Committee Fatima Zara Malick, OmamMuzammil from Drug and Poison Centre of a local pharmaceutical (PharmEvo), Commander Anti-Narcotics Force Sindh Brig. Abu Zar, known cooking expert Ms. Rahat, Project Head and Secretary General NFEH RuqiyaNaeem and Project Coordinator NFEH Mariam Nadir also spoke. Karachi Commissioner ShoaibSidiqi attended the last session of seminar as chief guest.

Family physician Dr. Shahzad Ali said that quacks and other irrelevant people were playing marketing gimmicks with general public and putting bombardment of their products advertisement in mass media which must be stopped by the media houses and relevant health ministries all over Pakistan. “People especially young girls and women are becoming their easy target to sell their products claiming to reduce their weight by 20 ponds in just 20, 30 or 40 days and this is not true,” he noted.

Dr Shahzad Ali said that use of such products can reduce weight but for a limited time and patient get back its double after it. “They are playing havoc with lives of people. Such formulas can cause kidney and liver failure and other medical complications for its users. This should be immediately banned in mass media and in localities, he urged.

Dr Nyla Zahid of LNH talked about breast cancer prevalence and management. She said that women after age of 40 have higher risk of developing breast cancer, however, now patients with younger age are also being reported in various medical centres.

Psychiatrist NausheenShahzad talked about denial and social issues of breast cancer. “Woman suffering from breast cancer should accept the reality and gain their will power. She should exactly know about stages of her disease and keep their kids and family members informed upto some level about her situation. Such woman should take more responsibility of things by herself and try not to blame other family members of her disease as this will help her to be on her feet,” she stressed.

Hakeem Syed Abdul Ghaffar Agha said that qualified hakeem can also be very effective physician to treat minor to major diseases by using natural herbs which is very cost effective as well.

Director Trade and Culture, Italian Development Committee, Fatima Zara Malick shared her experience of being in Italy and learning art, culture and other physical trainings. “In foreign as well, young girls and women are keen to keep their body in shape and slim. For this, they use to go for regular physical exercises as it is the only long-term solution.

Chairman PPMA Saeed Allahwala said that issue of spurious drugs was more prevalent in China, India and Bangladesh as compared to Pakistan. “Important thing is this that one should take medicine only after having a valid prescription and confirm date of expiry on all medicines to avoid complications,” he stressed.

Chairman NFEH Dr. Kaiser Waheed told that this forum was struggling to play its part for healthy society and raising awareness among general public about health and environmental issues. “Recently with the help of Commissioner Karachi Office, corporate sector and Forest Department, NFEH has planted more than 30 million saplings in different areas of Karachi to improve our environment,” he told.

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