Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 12, 2017: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) held today a smart clinic to discuss how to tackle obesity and get on a healthier track in the New Year.
Information was disseminated via the Authority's Twitter account and through Periscope.
Obesity is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases and experts at the smart clinic focussed on the link between childhood obesity and obesity in adulthood.
According to report by the Dubai Health Authority's Schools and Educational Institutions Unit, 33 per cent of school children from kindergarten to grade 12 across 176 private schools are either overweight or obese. Of these 14 to 16 per cent are obese.
Dr Waffa Ayesh, Director of Clinical Nutrition at the DHA, said: “ This year, we would like to encourage families to adopt healthier lifestyles for the full family, from the youngest to the oldest family member. It is important to note that children who have obesity are prone to be obese adults and they are likely to develop a number of chronic diseases early on preventing them from enjoying a healthy life in their adulthood. Obesity and overweight are main risk factors for a number of chronic conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Therefore, our message to parents is to take childhood obesity seriously. The best way to encourage children to eat healthy and exercise is to do it yourself. Children pick up what they see and setting the right example for them is the best thing a parent can do for their health and wellbeing.”
Dr Ayesh said that obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. “They are also more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes. “
Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as poor self-esteem. In the end, children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and osteoarthritis.
Fighting obesity as a family:
Dr Ayesh recommends reducing all forms of processed foods to the minimum, cutting out all aerated drinks and sugary drinks and opting for water instead. “Ideally, family members should get an annual medical examination at the beginning of the year, this is an ideal situation and they should take their reports to a nutritionist for a detailed plan based on their health conditions. However, general guidelines are eating foods as close to their natural sources, portion control, not eating two hours before sleeping and drinks lots of water all day.”
“ A smart trick is to grocery shop from the outermost aisles which rarely have processed foods. Do not bring junk food and canned foods at home, instead eat fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and other healthier options at snack times. For example, few tablespoons of hummus and cucumber sticks or apple and a nut butter are much better than processed foods like chips and biscuits. Planning, preparing and stocking the fridge is half the battle won.
“Besides food, exercise is very important both go hand-in-hand. Children can be encouraged to take up activities that they enjoy such as swimming or any other sports. Adults should workout at home or outdoors either when the weather is good or they should join a gym. Today the options are countless and all it takes is 45 minutes of your day. That's better than being stuck with a lifetime of chronic diseases.”