Obe­sity in the Gulf

Middle East Business (English) - - OBESITY - Else­where in the re­port, it is noted that;

In a 2012 ab­stract from a re­port dat­ing by Ma­jedah M. Ab­dul-Ra­soul of Depart­ment of Pae­di­atrics, Fac­ulty of Medicine, Kuwait Univer­sity, en­ti­tled ‘ Obe­sity in chil­dren and ado­les­cents in Gulf coun­tries: Facts and so­lu­tions’, the au­thor says: ‘The rapid pace of so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the Ara­bian Gulf na­tions and the rapidly chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment are prob­a­bly de­ter­min­ing the al­ter­ing sce­nario of child and ado­les­cent nutri­tion in the de­vel­oped so­ci­eties. The rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion in ev­ery­day life, ac­com­pa­nied by de­creased lev­els of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and in­creased calorific in­take of non- tra­di­tional food has be­come re­spon­si­ble for the emerg­ing of obe­sity in chil­dren and ado­les­cents as a ma­jor pub­lic health is­sue in these coun­tries. The six Ara­bian Gulf na­tions are a good ex­am­ple for this de­vel­op­men­tal tran­si­tion and its con­se­quences. ‘Preva­lence is high among Kuwaiti and Saudi pre-school chil­dren (8– 9%), and among the high­est in the world among Kuwaiti ado­les­cents (40–46%), tak­ing into ac­count that dif­fer­ent stan­dards of as­sess­ment of obe­sity are used ... Pre­ven­tion strate­gies need the col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts of gov­ern­men­tal and com­mu­nity-led agen­cies to es­tab­lish long-term pro­grammes to im­prove health ed­u­ca­tion, tar­get­ing young chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. Healthy eat­ing and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity should be pro­moted and en­cour­aged in schools, nurs­eries, and child care set­tings.’ The grow­ing ur­ban­i­sa­tion and nutri­tion tran­si­tion are largely blamed for the in­creas­ing preva­lence rates of child­hood and ado­les­cent obe­sity and type 2 di­a­betes. In fact, the

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preva­lence of over­weight and obe­sity in the GCC, in some cases, is ex­ceed­ing that of many de­vel­oped na­tions.

3 ‘ Fac­tors such as fam­ily his­tory, seden­tary life­style, ur­ban­i­sa­tion, in­creased in­come and fam­ily diet pat­terns have been linked to the in­creased preva­lence of over­weight peo­ple and obe­sity in the Gulf. It is ap­par­ent that the main un­der­ly­ing cause may be poor knowl­edge about food choices and lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity4. More­over, there is still wide­spread per­cep­tion among par­ents and their chil­dren, at least in some of the coun­tries, that be­ing over­weight is a sign of high so­cial class, beauty, fer­til­ity and pros­per­ity5. Own­ing TVs, satel­lite dishes and cars are con­sid­ered to be mark­ers of fi­nan­cial progress, con­tribut­ing to sig­nif­i­cant phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity. In some coun­tries (like KSA), the so­cial and cul­tural fac­tors, es­pe­cially on fe­males, have limited their ac­cess to sports and leisure time ex­er­cise, and so­cial­i­sa­tion fre­quently in­volves eat­ing.’

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