For healthy lifestyle, Sri Lanka takes cue from Vedas

December 9th, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 9 (IANS) Sri Lanka is now turning to the Vedas for lifestyle lessons as the ancient Indian scriptures contain nuggets of wisdom that can help prevent diseases like diabetes and heart attack.”The Vedas facilitate a conducive background for healthy lifestyles and good dietary habits. We are taking a cue from it to boost our health sector,” Sri Lankan Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told IANS.

“The Vedic scriptures have very good potential to prevent the adverse effects of non- communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.”

He said under a new programme, people were being told to “refer to the Vedas and learn ways to better their lifestyle”.

“In fact anyone can read the Indian scriptures and lead a better life.”

The minister was in Chennai to attend an international diabetic conference organised by the World Diabetes Foundation in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the World Bank.

“There is a lot of similarity between India and Sri Lanka in culture, lifestyle and even thinking. We are slowly adopting alternative systems of medicine for our own good,” de Silva said.

Besides ayurveda, homoeopathy, siddha, unani and yoga are the other traditional methods that Indians use to boost their health.

“Sri Lankans have taken to traditional alternative systems of medicine as a vehicle for good health and longevity. Therefore, we too need to look at alternative systems of medicine to address the issues of non-communicable diseases,” de Silva said.

“There are over 10,000 practioners of ayurveda in our country and we are trying to use them to bring it to the mainstream.

“I know the allopathic doctors are against it but I am convinced that such traditional medicines would do wonders for a developing country like us.

“The growing burden of non-communicable diseases is a great threat to Sri Lanka and the country will do everything to arrest and roll back lifestyle diseases,” the minister asserted.

Though many health indicators of Sri Lanka are impressive, yet it is one of the leading countries of the world in terms of diabetic prevalence. Nearly eight percent of the country’s over 20 million population are victims of the disease.

He said the rapid urbanisation, dietary changes and decreasing levels of physical activity are considered to be the underlying causes of this.

The minister, however, said there is a “need for research and evidence-based concepts to associate the good outcomes of alternative systems of medicine to the health and well-being of the people”.

“We are doing some research and I am sure, we will succeed (in making it popular).”

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