Free weight care centres planned across the UAE
Audience listen to a speaker during the Open Day at the Sharjah Weight Care Centre, a clinic set up to combat obesity in the country.
Dubai - Studies show that 47.5 per cent of UAE residents are overweight.
Published: Sun 6 Jan 2019, 8:19 PM
To help overweight and obese Emiratis shed flab non-surgically, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has set up a weight care centre (WCC) in Sharjah and plans are on to establish one in every emirate.
The clinic has been set up according to the 'National Programme to Combat Obesity in Children and Adolescents 2021'. However, only adults are being offered guidance at the moment and obese children will be looked into in the second phase of the programme, said an official.
"We want to offer a healthy way to lose weight, the non-surgical way," Dr Fadila Mohammed Sharif, director of the health education department at the ministry, told Khaleej Times.
Individuals with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 25 are referred to the clinics from the ministry's primary healthcare centres (PHCs).
"We are adopting a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to obesity management, which includes nutrition intervention, physical activity and cognitive behavioural therapy," said Dr Sharif.
"We want to help these people make positive changes to their lifestyle in order to achieve a healthy weight."
In the case of children, schools will refer the cases to PHCs, which will then refer them to the WCCs. Educational activities such as healthy cooking classes, gym work-out sessions, and group educational activities will be done within a period of three months and with five to six counselling sessions.
"The WCC is a specialised facility that offers non-surgical services aimed at promoting healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle practices among overweight and obese individuals," said Dr Hussein Abdel Rahman Al Rand, assistant undersecretary for Mohap's health clinics and centres.
"The opening of such centres in Dhadna in Fujairah and Al Dhaid will include a number of facilities and services such as health kitchens, e-activity rooms and health education rooms to establish an integrated educational process," he said.
Dr Sharif said the services are free of charge. "Obese patients from the ministry health centres will undergo laboratory tests, discuss results with a doctor, and then be transferred to WCC for consultation with a nutritionist and a health education specialist with periodic follow-ups for three to six months," she added.
Studies show that 47.5 per cent of UAE residents are overweight, with a BMI of between 25 and 30, while another 13 per cent are obese, with a BMI of over 30. Since the average BMI in the UAE is 25.6, the average UAE resident is considered overweight.
Forty per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds and 20 per cent of children under the age of 11 in the UAE are obese. Rates of obesity are higher in expatriates than Emiratis.