Monday, May 10, 2010

Experts: Dire need for obesity awareness in UAE

The Gulf Today, 4 April 2010

THE rate of obesity among adults in the UAE, estimated at 33.7 per cent, highlights the need for wide covering awareness programmes across the country, say healthcare experts.
Unhealthy diet has been recognised as one of the major reasons to shoot up the number of people diagnosed as obese in the country, said Dr Lina Al Kouatly, managing director of Lunatus Middle East, a healthcare consultancy organisation.
"The UAE is witnessing an increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases, which can be attributed to poor health and lifestyle habits," she added.
She was speaking on the occasion of a Continuous Medical Education (CME) programme and scientific lecture series on obesity, organised by Lunatus.
"The anti-obesity lecture series, aimed at raising awareness about the growing health threats among the UAE communities, will be conducted on April 4, 5 and 6, respectively, at Mina Al Salam in Dubai, Millennium Hotel in Sharjah and Sheraton Hotel in Abu Dhabi," she explained.
Dr Max Sawaf, director of Emirates Hospital and medical author, will lead the lecture series.
According to him, the obese people have a higher risk of heart disease, type II diabetes and even some forms of cancer.
"Both the government and private institutions should conduct joint campaigns in addressing the menace of obesity, and prevent having so many potential victims of such life-threatening diseases in the country. The right approach towards maintaining a healthy diet and controlling the spread of obesity in society should be highlighted," pointed out Dr Sawaf. "The lecture series will review various studies on different kinds of diets; also recommendations for the most effective dietary regimen," he added. "Obesity is a complex, progressive, dangerous and multi-factorial disease and needs various recommendations for effective life coaching in this part of the world."
According to Dr Amin Al Amiri, CEO for Medical Practice and Licensing at the UAE Ministry of Health, the efforts should focus on improving the general level of pharmacist's education and public awareness to promote a healthy lifestyle in the society.
"One of those major health issues is obesity in the UAE," he said. "Various diseases are linked with obesity and physical inactivity. This programme shall hopefully raise awareness and have an impact on the management and control of obesity."

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