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First ever national dietary guidelines published

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By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: First ever National Food Based Dietary Guidelines (NBDGs) for Afghans was launched on Sunday in order to fight malnutrition across the country.

The NBDGs was published by Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock in collaboration with health and education ministries and Food Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Minister of Public Health, Ferozuddin Feroz, said that solely poverty is not the reason for malnutrition and diseases, wrong and imbalanced nutrition also could cause health challenges.

Speaking at a press conference here he said, “Malnutrition can negatively impact physical and mental growth of children.”

He said that malnutrition is one of the factors behind mortality among children which is a big challenge for Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). Malnutrition has impact on the society and economic development as well.

He said that according to 2013 national survey, short height was around 40 percent, less weight problem was around 25 percent and malnutrition around 10 percent among children.

Iodine shortage was around 30 percent among children and around 41 percent among women. Less blood problem was 45 percent among children and 40 percent among women. Similarly, woman and children faced shortages of vitamin A and D in the country.

The minister said that although Afghanistan is a poor country, but poverty is not main reason for the mentioned health challenges, adding that “lack of awareness about balanced nutrition deems as main factor behind the issue.”

He urged people to follow the NBDGs for a better and healthy family in future.

Minister of Education, Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, pledged to follow the NBDGs though schools and convey the massage via students to families throughout the country.

He said that following the NBDGs would help students to become more wise and healthy.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mir Amanuddin Haidari, said that following the NBDGs, the ministry would strive hard to increase agriculture productivity and improve quality of harvest across the country.

FAO Representative, Tomio Shichiri, expressed pleasure over launch of NBDGs and pledge that FAO would remain committed in supporting Afghan government in this aspect.