74pc either obese or overweight: study

DUBAI — Childhood and adult obesity is increasing dramatically in the UAE to a level higher than those in the Western countries, posing an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, says a study.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Fri 22 Sep 2006, 9:27 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:26 PM

As per the Emirates National Diabetes Study held in UAE, 74 per cent of the random group studied were either obese or overweight, while 25 per cent of the nationals were found to be obese.

Dr Laila Marzouqi, cardiologist in Dubai Hospital, says, “There are over one billion people who are overweight globally, and if current trends continue, that number will increase to 1.5 billion by 2015."

"Excess weight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low and middle income groups. This is due to a number of factors, including a global shift in diet towards increased energy, fat, salt and sugar intake, and a trend towards decreased physical activity due to the sedentary nature of modern work and transportation and increasing urbanisation."

"If action is not taken now, an overwhelming chronic disease burden will take place in these countries in the next 10 to 20 years, ” she adds.

Dr Laila says, “Excess weight and obesity are important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death and accounts for over 17 million deaths every year."

"Approximately 80 per cent of heart diseases, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, and 40 per cent of cancer can be avoided through a healthy diet, regular physical activity and avoidance of tobacco use. Excess weight and obesity are prevalent in the UAE, particularly among women as per studies in 2005.”

The statistics on thoes being overweight are: women 77.8 per cent and men 70.8 per cent while the obesity figures are women 49.8 per cent and men 29.2 per cent.

Obesity has reached alarming proportions in the Middle East as over 45 per cent of women in the 15-49 age group are overweight or obese, says Prof Philip James, an obesity expert.

Prof James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and director of the Public Health Policy Group in the UK, also warns that while there has been increased emphasis on the care of hypertension and heart disease, obesity is still not being treated effectively.

James said that obesity was a far greater threat in the Middle East region, compared to developed countries like the US or Japan.

Lack of exercise and improper diets are some of the factors that lead to unhealthy lifestyles. Western lifestyles with diets that include fast foods which contain very high levels of sugar and fat, combined with sedentary lifestyles supported by car transport rather than walking or biking, sitting in front of the computer or television sets for hours, inadequate activities in schools, all contribute to the malady.

Childhood obesity usually persists into adult life where it is increasingly difficult to treat. This is a result of sedentary lifestyles and the best way to avoid the problem is to prevent obesity at an earlier stage as a child grows up to be a teenager.

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