In an attempt to make the Pakistani population become more aware of their nutrition and lead them to develop better healthy lifestyles, the Royal Danish Embassy, in coordination with Community World Service Asia organized a ‘food hackathon’ on October 14, 2021, at Avari Hotel, Karachi at 10:30 AM.
The hackathon’s key objectives were to raise awareness on preventing the growing prevalence of NCDs and obesity in Pakistan, improve the low quality and low life expectancy of Pakistanis due to poor eating habits and educate, train and inspire Pakistanis to implement healthy eating and cooking habits. Furthermore, it highlighted the concept of Sustainable Food that advocates for cutting carbon emissions through a climate-friendly and plant-based diet.
The event started with a panel discussion with moderator Chef Casper Bogeskov from Denmark with panellists Simon F Kjeldsen – Deputy Head of Mission, Rashed Butt – Vice President & GM of Novo Nordisk Pakistan, Prof Dr Saeed A Mahar – Professor of Medicine, Consultant Endocrinologist & Diabetologist and the talented influencer Faiza Saleem.
Shahzeb Shaikh – Deputy Director (Operations), District South Karachi, Sindh Food Authority attended the hackathon and an innovation session was arranged with relevant Government institutions, NGOs, academia, culinary schools, food technologists/innovators, health journalists and known influencers.
In addition, the food hackathon was followed by cooking boot camps; teaching upcoming and professional chefs healthy cooking methods and recipes, and massive advocacy efforts that will champion a culture of healthy cooking methods and eating a nutritious diet. These took place because according to what Pakistani experts reveal, food toxicity and deep frying are some of the most common problems identified in the country and thus through the events planned in the hackathon, the selected teams participating learned to tackle problems related to diabetes and obesity through food, cooking and a good diet.