UAE continuing efforts to fight obesity: health experts

ABU DHABI, The UAE’s efforts to fight obesity have received the support of health professionals and experts, at the end of the two-day Gulf Obesity Summit and Regional Congress 2018, the first regional obesity congress in the Middle East, which was held in Abu Dhabi, under the theme, “Achieving the UN’s Targets by 2025.”

The experts told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, that the UAE aims to introduce strict food regulations and standards, as part of the government’s policy to promote healthy lifestyles with a set of goals, including making healthy foods, nutrition and physical exercise a common and daily practice.

They also praised the UAE’s efforts to find proactive solutions to fight obesity, through promoting health, nutrition and sports.

Dr. Lamees Buhaliqa, Head of Chronic Diseases at the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi, said that the department’s “Weqaya” (Prevention) Programme, which has been implemented by 30 facilities, aims to encourage people to eat a healthy and balanced diet, to promote good health and wellbeing while noting that most chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancer and bone fragility, can be avoided through eating a healthy diet.

Dr. Jamal Al Mutawa, Director of Community Health and Surveillance at the Department, said that the department is working with its partners and stakeholders to fight obesity, by launching annual awareness programmes and screening students in schools, to promote healthy lifestyles.

He also praised the plan of the Abu Dhabi Children’s Obesity Task Force to increase the level of physical activity of local children by 15 percent and reduce their average body mass index, BMI, by 15 percent by 2020.

The summit’s participants stressed that the region has to invest in effective treatment services and prevention measures at local and national levels, to meet the targets of the United Nations, UN, to stop the increase in global obesity rates by 2025.

The summit examined the services that will be required by 2025, and the benefits of various weight management techniques and weight reduction, as well as preventing weight gain.

International experts discussed a new roadmap that will focus on meeting the UN’s targets, to ensure that current obesity levels do not exceed those in 2010.

The summit brought together experts from around the world, to highlight the impact of childhood obesity and the importance of proper training in the medical sector, as well as the need for governments across the region to ensure that major food and sugar manufacturers act responsibly and play their part in helping consumers make healthy choices.

Source: Emirates News Agency