26pc children in UAE are obese

ABU DHABI — Obesity is common among children in the UAE, registering an alarming 26 per cent among youngsters, warned a medical expert.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Sat 30 Jul 2005, 10:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:45 PM

“According to recent statistics released by the Ministry of Health, the global malady is spreading fast among young people in the country,” Dr Mohammed Al Shumais from the Rescue and Society Service Section at the UAE Red Crescent (UAE RC) told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of a charity day organised in the capital to raise the awareness of people on the hazards of obesity.

He noted obesity in childhood is mainly associated with high blood pressure, abnormal lipped profile and increases risk of diabetes and heart diseases in adulthood.

“Obesity is the major causation of several ailments, including diabetes and vascular diseases,” said Dr Shumais, attributing causes of obesity to lack of regular exercise and physical activity, sedentary behaviour as well as unhealthy eating habits.

He said children should be educated on the health risks obesity poses and taught to adopt and promote healthy lifestyle.

At regional level, obesity spread in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries at the rate of 10 per cent among small children, according to an expert.

Omniyat Al Hajeri, Endocrinologist at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City has said the figure increases to 15 per cent among school children at primary school and reaches up to 30 to 40 per cent in students at secondary school level and among adults mainly females in child bearing age.

“About 35 to 40 per cent of adults in the GCC are obese,” said Dr Hajeri in an article published in the Medical Services Magazine of the General Authority for Health Services for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Quoting World Health Organisation’s recent statistics, she said obesity is considered as a global epidemic whereby there are over 300 million obese adults and 1.1 billion overweight people.

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