12.6% of Dubai schoolkids overweight, says DHA

12.6% of Dubai schoolkids overweight, says DHA

Dubai - The screening found that 8.8 per cent of the students were obese and 0.7 per cent were 'morbidly obese'.

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Asma Ali Zain

Published: Sun 14 Apr 2019, 11:03 PM

Last updated: Mon 15 Apr 2019, 1:12 AM

Dubai's health policy for schools is pushing students to adopt a healthier lifestyle, after a comprehensive screening conducted on private schools found that 12.6 per cent of pupils were overweight. Schoolkids are urged to eat more portions of fruits and vegetables and exercise more.
Conducted by the Dubai Health Authority's (DHA) Public Health Protection Department for the year 2017-2018, the screening covered 280,000 students - from kindergarten to Grade 12 - in Dubai private schools.
The screening found that 8.8 per cent of the students were obese and 0.7 per cent were 'morbidly obese'.
Meanwhile, 5.3 per cent of the students were found to be underweight and 73 per cent were within the normal, healthy weight.
Dr Badreyya AlHarmi, director of the public health department at the DHA, said the screening is part of the school health policy for Dubai, which aims to create a safe, healthy and motivating environment for pupils.
"The screening aims to ensure the health and safety of students and promotes early detection of diseases," said Dr AlHarmi.
She added that comprehensive medical examinations (CME) are conducted every three years of the student's life on selected grades in Dubai private schools.
Other statistics showed that, according to the annual health reports sent by private schools to the department, the rate of bronchial asthma among students is 2.27 per cent, while diabetes is 0.18 per cent. Also, 0.24 per cent of the students had ADHD and 0.06 per cent had scoliosis.
The screening revealed that 0.93 per cent have hearing
impairments; 8.43 per cent have visual impairments; and 4.7 per cent have dental and oral issues.
"Obesity and being overweight are one of the most pressing health issues in Dubai private schools, and this is why we continue to introduce initiatives and policies to address the weight issues," she added.
A similar study done by the DHA and published by Khaleej Times on April 4 showed that obesity prevalence among Dubai students has declined
by 1.2 per cent over the past three years.
Dubai achieved this after introducing intervention programmes, such as food labelling and physical activities. Students from 180 private schools in Dubai were studied over the course of three academic years from 2014-15.

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