The Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine has launched a revised dietary guideline for Sri Lankans, in collaboration with the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The revised guidelines outlined a number of recommendations, highlighting the importance of variety and balance in amounts consumed. Consuming whole grains including rice and their products, which are parboiled or less polished instead of refined grains and products was another recommendation highlighted. While sugary drinks, biscuits, cakes and sweets are best limited, the guideline also suggested that fish, egg or lean meat with pulses were important additions in each meal. At least two vegetables, one green leafy vegetable with two fruits are to be consumed daily according to the guideline.
A daily intake of 8 to 10 glasses (1.5 – 2.0 litres) throughout the day, engaging exercises at least 20 minutes every day, and seven to eight hours of continuous sleep were also recommended.
The Sri Lanka Food-Based Dietary Guidelines were launched (FBDGs) were developed by the Nutrition Division of the Ministry of Health, in consultation with various government ministries, universities, nutrition associations and institutes, consumer and non-governmental organizations. Technical and financial support was extended by FAO. The guidelines are adapted to the country’s nutrition situation, food availability, culinary cultures and eating habits.
Country specific dietary guidelines are recommended tools to improve healthy eating habits and lifestyles of individuals.
“Sri Lanka is a country that is facing a triple-burden of malnutrition from staggering rates of stunting and wasting among children, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity especially among women of reproductive age. The causes of malnutrition are complex and multilayered, yet diet is one of the single most important contributors to malnutrition,” Dr Xuebing Sun, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.