Underlining the importance of preventive care, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist M.N.V. Pallavi advised girl students on Wednesday to manage their diet properly and dedicate time to physical exercises.

She spoke at a health awareness programme conducted by Manipal Hospitals in association with The Hindu, at Andhra University Engineering College and AU Women's Engineering College on the eve of International Women's Day.

At a separate meeting, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Sowdamini addressed the students of Dr. L. Bullayya Women's Engineering College on the day.

Manipal Hospitals conducted rapid blood sugar test and blood grouping test and provided free consultation cards. The card-holders will be offered discounted packages. The doctors told the students to avoid oily and spicy food, consume leafy vegetables, have small meals and consume plenty of water. They were told that women in general suffer a lot in India due to exogenous factors such as lifestyle, stress, fatty diet and drugs. Endogenous factors such as hormonal imbalance, uterine abnormalities and polycystic ovarian syndrome attributed mainly to obese tendency, also impact their health. Dr. Pallavi said consumption of fibre-rich food and wide variety of fruits and avoiding alcohol and smoking was good for the health of women. She said for girls of marriageable age, pre-marital counselling was important on their expectations, fears and anxieties.

She said after marriage, they should have proper planning for pregnancy and allayed fears in certain sections on efficacy of contraceptive pills. Expressing concern at high incidence of breast and cervical cancers in India, she said every seven minutes, a woman died of cervical cancer in the country. “It's completely preventable and the vaccine is also available,” she said, and asked all married women to undergo routine annual check-up by a gynaecologist.

She said a pap test was best way to prevent cervical cancer and clarified that breast cancer could be detected early and cured through self-examination. AU Engineering College Principal G.S.N. Raju presided and thanked the Manipal Hospitals and The Hindu for their initiative to create health awareness. AU Women's Engineering College Principal D. Radhakrishna, Manipal Hospitals Branch Head Sukesh Reddy and The Hindu Regional General Manager T.V. Suresh, spoke at the meeting held at AU Engineering College. At L. Bullayya Engineering College for Women, Principal Sambi Reddy and Vice-Principal Rehman participated. About 1,000 students attended the health talks.

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