islamabad - Experts from Pakistan and various other countries attended an international conference held here on Wednesday at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU).The conference underlined the need of promoting a healthy life-style, laying greater focus on better food-choice, weight management and the promotion of  exercising daily.

The conference was arranged by the University’s department of Home and Health Sciences to deliberate upon society-related issues, with special reference to United Nation Sustainable Development goals.

The motto of the conference was ‘Go green, get healthy’. Foreign participants from China, UK and UAE attended the inaugural session which was presided over by the Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Siiddiqui, while the Director General World Health Organization Dr Sania Nishtar was the chief guest.

The key-note speeches on the occasion were delivered by environmental expert Dr Fouzia Qureshi and nutrition expert Dr Rezzan Khan of Shifa International Hospital. While Chairman Department of Home and Health Sciences Dr Nomana Anjum spoke about the aims and objectives of the two-day conference. About 70 research papers were to be presented during its four working sessions. The speakers spoke about the importance of healthy environment and better urban planning for promoting a healthy society. They called for proper management and planning in urban development.

Later, the Vice Chancellor briefed the participants about the AIOU’s research-based activities.

, stating that seventeen research journals were published and thirty-one national and international conferences were arranged during the last three and half years to construct and disseminate knowledge, relevant to the society.

Dr Siddiqui was of the view that education is meaningless if it does not help to serve the society and improve the living conditions of the people. Educationists through their academic pursuits are supposed to serve the society, by addressing its socio-economic issues, he added.

While taking new initiatives, the University has been trying to serve marginalized and stigmatized sections of the society. The scope of free education was enhanced for prisoners, disabled persons, drop-out girls and transgender groups. Besides this, ‘Accessibility Centres’ for visually impaired people were set up at the University’s 44 regional offices. The VC hoped that the event will provide an opportunity to the participants to discuss multidisciplinary academic issues related to environment, nutrition and health.

Dr Sania Nishtar highlighted the problems, like mal-nutrition and under-nutrition, being faced by the society. Air pollution also leaves a very negative impact on the human-health, she added. She also called for making maximum investment on development of strong human-capital base. She appreciated the AIOU for focusing on societal issues in its research work. Other institutions should also follow the same; she asserted.

 It was hoped that the conference’s deliberations will evolve strategies for engaging the public and securing policy-makers support for the creation of socially inclusive healthy communities.