Ministry of National Health Services launched launched an Awareness Initiative ‘Pedal for Health’ at Liaquat Gymnasium in Islamabad aimed at prevention of non-communicable diseases. Federal Minister for National Health Services, Aamer Mehmood Kiani launched the Initiative which would be run under the Ministry of Health, by pedaling a cycle.
Sharing his views on the occasion, he said that Ministry of Health is taking steps for creating awareness against non-communicable diseases, for environment protection and to encourage the population to undertake healthy activities like cycling. Physical inactivity had been recognised as one of the leading risk factors for global mortality due to non-communicable diseases. Regular physical activity like cycling and running helped in lowering risk of several chronic and non-communicable diseases, for example coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension type-2 diabetes and depression. Cycling could improve both population health and the environment, he said.
He further said that cycling was a healthy, low-impact exercise that could be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. Cycling could improve both physical and mental health, and could reduce the chances of experiencing different NCDs, he said. Cycling stimulated and improved heart, lungs and circulation, reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases whereas it also strengthened heart muscles; lowered resting pulse and reduced blood fat levels. It has been identified as one of the important elements of physical activity that had been contributing towards a positive role in control of NCDs.
He said that one of the important risk factors that were contributing in development of NCDs was lack of physical activity. According to World Health Organization (WHO), physical inactivity had been identified as third leading risk factor for global mortality (6% of deaths globally). Physical inactivity was estimated to be the main cause for 27% of diabetes and approximately 30% of ischemic heart disease burden. The Ministry of National Health Services had initiated the process of developing a National NCD action plan for prevention and control of non- communicable diseases. In this regard, a task force for non-communicable diseases and technical working group has been notified, in which all stakeholders are included.
They would develop a National Action Plan for prevention of non- communicable diseases in collaboration with NCD focal persons from provinces, subject experts and international partners. The aim of the action plan would be to integrate the non-communicable diseases control and management at the primary healthcare level facilities. Essential drugs and basic equipment would be provided and awareness raising and preventive measures would be promoted. Health insurance facility would be provided to the people across the country by 2023.