Better nutrition linked to disease prevention

KARACHI: Experts here stressed that better nutrition is necessary to prevent diseases. They were speaking at the Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society Nutrition Research Symposium: 2013′ Saturday evening.

Dr Salma H. Badruddin, in her welcome address emphasized the importance of critical and analytical thinking for doing research. She reminded the young researchers that computers and soft ware programs were just tools – the important thing is the Brain behind the computers.

The Chief Guest Dr, Fatema Jawad, Chief Editor, Journal of Pakistan Medical Association pointed out that Nutrition Science is integral for every field of medicine and is essential for the prevention of many diseases. Nutritionists are required to design and implement effective nutrition policy and programs.

However, high quality research in the field of nutrition is lacking. PNDS members should provide training and opportunities for their younger members to look at the nutrition related problems in our country and provide solutions to build the health of the nation.

Ms Ayesha Zahid Khan, General Secretary, PNDS highlighted the major activities of the Society in the last 10 years. In her Plenary lecture entitled ‘The Importance of Research: Putting Pakistan on the Nutritional Map, Dr Nilofer F Safdar, Director Nutritional Science Program, School of Public Health, DUHS discussed the various National Nutritional Surveys, research and interventions programs that have been conducted in the past.

According to her many of them have failed to address the root causes and effects of malnutrition in Pakistan because the focus was mainly on assessing indicators and less on identifying causal factors. The lack of qualitative data and the absence of qualified nutritionists amongst the teams that conduct nutrition research results in a failure to address the causes of malnutrition. The rich and multifaceted education that a nutrition graduate is equipped with can enhance and improve the quality and application of nutrition research.

Dr. Fatima Mir, a researcher from the Department of Pediatrics & Child Health, Aga Khan University discussed the various skills required to translate clinical experience into publications and why it remains an uncomfortable challenge for the best of us. She gave simple tips to the young researchers on how to start and finish a research manuscript.

Dr Syeda Kanwal from School of Public Health, DUHS, discussed the various steps required to do a critical appraisal of the scientific literature. She enumerated various guidelines that a keen scientific reader can use to recognize good quality research papers.

The symposium also provided an excellent opportunity for young researchers to present their work on a wide range of health and nutrition related topics.

The best oral research paper presenter was Ms. Tooba Lateef Jinnah University for women and the best poster presenter was Ms. Sidra Sirajuddin from Tabba Heart Institute.

The symposium concluded by vote of thanks from Ms Fayza Khan, Vice President PNDS.

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