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Tue 1 May 2007 12:00 AM

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Allergic reactions on the rise

Nearly a third of region's residents suffer from allergies-related health problems, study finds.

Almost one in three people in the GCC have experienced some health problems linked to allergies, according to a study commissioned by consumer electronics firm, LG Electronics. The company released the findings to coincide with the launch of a new range of household appliances dubbed the Healthcare Collection.

More than 1,000 people participated in the survey, which covered the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and South Africa. More than 90% of respondents stated that health was one of their biggest concerns today. Only four in 10, however, said they exercised and have regular check-ups.

Respondents blamed dust (67%) and air pollution (59 per cent) as the main reasons for respiratory problems in the region. Other factors blamed were irregular maintenance of appliances, including mould in air-conditioners; high temperatures; long hours in traffic; poor nutrition and smoking.

A majority of UAE respondents admitted that they continue to include high levels of sugar, fried food and red meat in their daily diets. Nevertheless, eight in 10 people claimed that they are more health-conscious now then they were in the past.

Incidences of respiratory illnesses and breathing difficulties are increasing in the region despite growing awareness about their causes and implementation of preventive measures. In Saudi Arabia, for example, bronchial asthma (50%) and acute bronchitis (25%) figured as the top respiratory illnesses, according to doctors in the country.

LG claims its new range of air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners and air purifiers was developed with people's health in mind. "At LG we undertake a great deal of research into what is most important to our customers and we found that people in the Middle East and Africa are very concerned about living healthy lives," explained KW Kim, president of LG Electronics Middle East and Africa. "Our new products are based on the insights and ideas that we get from our thorough research on the market."

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