Qatar fights back against Obesity

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Qatar, the world’s richest country, is taking measures on an urgent basis to counter the challenge posed to its nation’s health by obesity.

qatar fights back against obesity
The world’s richest country, Qatar, is taking serious measures to fight obesity. A newly formed committee is tasked with the introduction of anti-obesity awareness classes in schools, which will be made part of the school curriculum and will also seek parental support to raise health awareness. Photo: Alpha/Flickr

Last year, the tiny state of Qatar was ranked as the most obese nation in the world. It is estimated that about half of all adults in the country are obese, while 17 percent of the population also suffers from diabetes.

Out of a total population of 1.7 million, less than 0.3 million are native Qataris. These locals have enjoyed a significant rise in their disposable incomes as a result of higher oil exports and heavy state subsidies. However, the lavish lifestyle has brought with it the burden of lifestyle induced diseases.

The Gulf state is now taking action against obesity by introducing anti-obesity awareness classes in schools. Around two-fifths of school children in Qatar are believed to be overweight and at risk of developing lifestyle induced diseases in later years. A report by Al Jazeera points out that the trend of type-2 diabetes is already on the rise among children.

Dr. Ravinder Mamtani; “In the case of obesity, for example, a small reduction of 3kg-5kg in weight will contribute to improved health. Equally important and simple self-care approaches such as having a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a normal body weight are immensely helpful in reducing the incidence of diseases such as diabetes.” — Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, associate dean for global and public health, speaking at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar

A committee has been tasked with proposing and implementing ways to prevent obesity in the country. The team will be closely coordinating with the National Olympic Committee and other institutions from the areas of education, sports and health, to chalk out a strategy of promoting greater health awareness among children. Besides making anti-obesity awareness studies a part of the school curriculum, the committee will also be seeking support of parents to raise health awareness.

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