Etihad Aviation Group makes major commitment to health of its staff
KUWAIT: Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) will introduce healthier Weqaya-approved meal options to its staff restaurants after signing an agreement with The Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD). The agreement represents a significant commitment by EAG to the wellbeing of its employees, while contributing to a healthier community in its home of Abu Dhabi. The “Weqaya” logo, the official mark of healthy eating in Abu Dhabi, is only permitted on foods and at food outlets that meet strict requirements on preparation and ingredients, as governed by HAAD. Weqaya labelling can be displayed when food items, such as a salad or sandwich, contain less than 750 calories, are low in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and high in fibre, among other specifications.
Dr Nadia Bastaki, Etihad Aviation Group Vice President Medical Services, said: “We have been working closely with HAAD for many months to understand the Weqaya requirements and incorporate them into our business so that our staff restaurants offer food of the highest nutritional quality and employees can quickly identify what choices are best for their health.” Speaking at SIAL Middle East 2016 in Abu Dhabi, Dr Bastaki added: “This is a major undertaking by EAG and demonstrates our commitment to a healthier workforce and to the reduction of health conditions in the community linked to a poor diet. We would like to thank HAAD for their guidance and support.”
Dr Omniyat Al Hajeri, Director of Public Health and Research at HAAD, said: “HAAD is ramping up its efforts to fulfil its vision for “a healthier Abu Dhabi” by promoting a healthy food culture in our community and ultimately increasing demand for it. In parallel to its awareness-raising efforts to increase demand, HAAD is also ensuring the availability of healthy food options across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and making them easier to identify through the “Weqaya” logo.
We will continue to stress that besides regular physical activity, healthy eating habits are a critical component of leading a healthier lifestyle.” Etihad Aviation Group, in collaboration with HAAD, held training sessions for Etihad food handlers on how to prepare healthy food, according to Weqaya food specifications. So far, more than 50 chefs and food and beverage staff have gone through special training ahead of EAG’s launch of nine Weqaya menu options across six staff restaurants this month.
Dr Al Hajeri added: “Our collaboration with EAG today, is an important milestone in promoting the Weqaya Nutrition Program, and encouraging its adoption across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. We will continue to work diligently with all our partners in both the public and private sector to ensure a smooth implementation and adoption of healthy food specifications at food supply companies, cafes, restaurants and market stores.”
The Weqaya Nutrition Program was launched in September 2013 to raise awareness about healthy food items available at food outlets in the Emirate, while encouraging outlets to increase their healthy offerings. HAAD collaborated with the Quality Conformity Council (QCC) and Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) to update the standards. The program will help contribute to the effective reduction of risk factors associated with major non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Representatives from Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) and The Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) take group photo after the press conference.