This is not just a project, this is a life experience...

Dec 15, 2021

The first webinar of the project "Suwapetha" of Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa organized by the students of Faculty of Medicine commenced on the 5th of December 2021 exactly at 4.15 p.m., a little later than the planned time,4.00 p.m. Although it happened via zoom on an online platform, all were enthusiastically engaging to make this an eye-opening discussion. The Slide displayed on the screen at first with fruits and veggies along with exercise accessories could build a creative image on one’s mind to adhere to the discussion.

Our talented, creative as well as fluent moderators, Rifdha and Malithi gave a remarkable beginning to the webinar by welcoming the guest speakers along with the audience while describing the main objectives of the project in brief.

At next, Co-director Membership Development Avenue of Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa. Rtr. Chathuni Sooriyaarachchi addressed the gathering.

Rotaract is all about experiences, this is not just a project, this is a life experience for all of us

With those words, she elucidated the value of being a Rotaractor and how much effort we have to exert to make this project as well as our whole life successful.

Subsequently, our moderators introduced the guest speakers to the audience. They were Dr. Thimothy Wickramasekara, Consultant Nutrition Physician of the Colombo South teaching hospital, and Dr. Sanka Paranavithana, Lecturer in Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine,

The Flow of the panel discussion was sorted out in a manner where the moderators unveil some questions and the guest speakers discussed them in depth from top to bottom. Meanwhile one of our project members, Hirunika shared the slide link in the chatbox to include the questions. Then Ridha started the discussion by mentioning,

Here is a famous quote that I can remember,

Energy is the most important building block of life

At this point, Dr. Thimathi explained what is nutrition and its essential components with certain fractions. He highlighted the fact that a typical current Sri Lankan diet contains 70%- 80% carbohydrates while the protein content is very low. Therefore, he suggested taking more protein as an energy context. Moreover, Dr.Sanka mentioned some basic meal suggestions that are both practical and healthy such as reducing the number of carbs, adhering to a low-fat diet, consuming high-quality proteins, limiting sweet consumption, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, etc. After that, Dr. Thimathi described BMI and its criteria. He emphasized that Asian body composition is different from European body composition due to having more fat in Asians and as a result, Asians are more prone to diseases. Then, details about various types of diets such as ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, traditional calory restriction diet, fruit diet, etc. were discussed in detail by Dr. Thimathi. He pointed out that we should clarify whether the diet plan is practical to us, is culturally acceptable, and is it easy to sustain before starting it. Then it will correlate with our daily and family routine while mingling with social culture.

As a response to Malithi’s question, Dr. Sanka explained additional dietary recommendations for weight loss and the prevention of obesity-related diseases one by one. Some of them were to limit the portion size, stick to a perfect meal plan, quiet from smoking, limiting salt intake. Here Dr. Sanka thoroughly emphasized that we must consult a doctor if we have some diseases like dyslipidemia, gastritis before adhering to a diet plan. In the meantime, Dr. Thimathi mentioned that there are no magical drinks or food that can increase body weight although some are commercially available. And also Dr. Sanka outlined the Common Diet-related health issues such as GORD, Constipation, Fatty liver, Migraine, etc. with their contributing factors. He highlighted the fact that if you have diseases like gastritis, do not follow diet plans like intermittent fasting. Until then we had been discussing diet and its role in a healthy life. Then the moderators moved on to another important part of a healthy lifestyle, which is exercise. According to Dr. Thimathy low sustained exercises are best for weight loss as the fat starts to break only after 30 minutes of exercise .so we have to engage in exercises like fast walking, cycling for about 1 hour. And he pointed up to not to start diet and exercise together.

We all have been facing a pandemic situation for about 2 years now and as many people got infected with the virus already, the next discussion topic was Diet and exercise in COVID 19. Dr. Sanka highlighted that both obesity and malnourishment are arising during this period due to economic crisis and sedentary lifestyle. The next topic was the one that was pretty much relatable to all of us I presume. It was “The implications of online studies and the associated sedentary lifestyle for university students and how to keep our mind relaxing”. Several advices were given by both doctors. Some of them were rethinking before eating every food, do some leisure time activities and exercises, have a good sleep of about 7-9 hours, spend time with your family, drink plenty of water, etc. It remarked the end of the panel discussion.

Next was the time for questions from the audience. Most questions were about post-covid impacts like losing smell and taste. Dr. Thimathy advised them to stimulate taste and sensory buds. at this time Dr. Sanka mentioned that loss of smell and taste is a common symptom for various diseases like the common cold, flu, etc.

Subsequently, a token of appreciation was given by expressing our sincere gratitude to our beloved guest speakers who were with us during their busy schedules. At last vote of thanks was delivered by one of the project chairs of the Suvapetha project, Rotaractor Neha Dassanayake.

Coming to the end of the discussion, Rifdha reminded us that

Healthy eating and healthy exercise equal healthy lifestyle

remarking the official end of the first webinar of the Suwapetha project.

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