Role of Law to promote Physical Activity and Healthy Diet

It is important to strengthen laws and policies to ensure the supply of fresh vegetables and physical activity to prevent non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Non-communicable diseases account for 67% percent of the country’s total deaths. 22 percent of these are premature deaths. If all these diseases are not prevented, the overall progress of the country will be hampered.

Although there are various laws to control non-communicable diseases, the health aspects are not important in the implementation of these laws. Those outside the health sector also have a responsibility to control non-communicable diseases. This was stated at a discussion meeting on “Role of Law to promote Physical Activity and Healthy Diet” on Thursday (March 10) at 9:30 am at the Parliament Members Club Hall of the National Parliament, organized by Dhaka International University and Center for Law and Policy Affairs (CLPA). Forty-One (41) participants (35 M, 6 F) attended the event.

Barrister Shamim Haider Patwari’ MP presided over the meeting and the keynote address was delivered by Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin, Secretary, Center for Law and Policy Affairs-CLPA.

In the main article, Syed Mahbubul Alam said that research on existing non-communicable disease control laws shows that there are about 16 laws in the country to ensure gymnasiums and open spaces. In addition, more than 30 laws of 11 ministries are involved in controlling unhealthy food and ensuring healthy fresh food. However, the health aspects are not important in law enforcement.

He further said that it is important for the local government to formulate separate policies to create a conducive environment for physical exercise and to add specific provisions in the Local Government Act.

It also recommended the enactment of a comprehensive law on public health, the formation of a health promotion foundation funded by the Health Development Health Development Surcharge, the formulation of a national guideline on physical infrastructure and the allocation of budget.

Barrister Shamim Haider Patwari MP said that in the way the disease is increasing in Bangladesh, it will not be possible to protect the health system of the country if the disease prevention system is not strengthened. It is important to develop the city’s infrastructure to encourage people to walk and exercise.

Syeda Rubina Akhter MP said that cancer and stroke are also increasing in the villages. We need to make the general people aware to save us from all these diseases.

Monwar Hossain Chowdhury MP said it is important to consider if legislation is needed to control non-communicable diseases.

Rana Mohammad Sohail MP said it was important to focus on infrastructure development to increase physical activity.

Shiuli Azad MP said that the trend of children consuming unhealthy food is increasing, it should be given importance to control and provide environment for children to play sports. If there is no field, the approval of the educational institution has to be stopped.

Adiba Anjum Mita MP said that children are not growing properly due to not being able to play enough sports.

Anwar Hossain Helal MP said that it is important to consider the importance of transporting vegetables.

Shirin Akhter MP said that the issue of women’s physical education should be given importance and swimming should be made compulsory in educational institutions.

Ahmed Firoz Kabir MP said that our nutritional deficiencies are increasing as a result of processing and packaging of agricultural products. We do not walk because we depend on vehicles. We need to change these lifestyles. Haroon Aur Rashid MP said that sports should be given utmost importance in educational institutions. If this issue is given importance in the city, it will also increase in the village. Fakrul Imam MP said, “Initiatives are being taken internationally for the purpose of physical exercise, we should give importance to that.”

Speaking further at the meeting, Professor. Anwar Hossain, General Secretary, Public Health Association of Bangladesh; Dr. MH Farooq, Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences; Professor Dr. Golam Mohiuddin Farooq, Project Director, Bangladesh Cancer Society; Professor Dr. A. F. M. Sarwar, Research Consultant CLCL; Aminul Islam Bakul, Convener, Citizen Network (C-Net), Director of Safe Food Authority, Dr. Sahadeva Chandra Saha; Dr. Shahidul Islas, Program Manager, Non-Communicable Disease Control Program, Department of Health.