No junk food in school canteens, says Dohms

DUBAI — Alarmed by the fact that nearly one-fourth of the national population is diabetic, the Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) has decided not to serve any fast food in schools, besides putting the students through periodic check for diabetes.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 7 Jul 2005, 10:15 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:42 PM

Dohms has also decided to set up a speciality diabetes centre in Dubai as part of its efforts to combat the spread of diabetes.

The Administrative Board of Dohms headed by Qasim Sultan, discussed ways and means to fight diabetes effectively after statistics revealed that 24 per cent of the nationals were afflicted by the disease, while overall, including expat residents, the rate was 19.6 per cent.

"Nationals who run the risk of turning diabetic was 17.9 per cent," said Dr Abdul Razzaq Al Madani, Director of Dubai Hospital and Head of the Diabetes Prevention Team of Dohms, adding that among residents, 17.4 are diabetic with another 13.4 in the high risk zone.

"Serious action should be taken to combat diabetes because most of the patients are aged between 30 and 50 years — the age span when a person is supposed to be at highest levels of productivity. Accordingly, the disease has negative effects on the country's economy," he stressed.

Diabetes could cause blindness, brain stroke, heart diseases and kidney failure. The department decided to implement various measures to combat the disease including periodic medical check-up of students in government and private schools, especially after a recent study revealed that 15.2 per cent of the children run the risk of turning diabetic, he said, adding: "Lack of physical activity including sports and opting for computer games and leading a sedentary lifestyle is the main cause of obesity among children, increasing the risk of turning diabetic."

Stressing on the importance of early intervention to help prevention and limiting rate of affliction, Dr Al Madani warned: "If the rate of affliction continues at existing levels, the rate would soar up to 50 per cent within 15 or 20 years."

Khalid Ahmad Al Shaikh Mubarak, department's Acting Director-General, said that the school community will be banned from selling fast food in their canteens and asked to serve healthy items. Municipalities will be asked to monitor the schools' commitment in this regard, he said, adding that the school community will be also educated about the need for healthy food habits.

He said letters will be sent to the Ministry of Education to make necessary arrangements to implement the decision. The ministry will also be advised to increase the number of weekly sports periods to help reduce obesity among students, he added.

Besides, the Ministry of Health and the Specifications Authority will be asked to prepare new health regulations for locally manufactured and imported juices and soft drinks to reduce sugar content in them, he said.

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