By Francesca Astorri
Up to 40 percent of school children in the Gulf state are classed as overweight
With two fifths of school children in Qatar classed as overweight, the Gulf state is considering plans to introduce anti-obesity awareness classes in schools.
“Plans are also afoot to make anti-obesity awareness studies a part of school curriculum,” said Dr Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali, Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Health.
A committee has been set up to mull ways to prevent obesity in the country, The Peninsula daily newspaper reported. The panel is coordinating with the National Olympic Committee and other institutions from different sectors including education, sports and health.
Up to 40 percent of school children in Qatar are obese, according to a report published by Al Jazeera last year, resulting in the number of cases of type-2 diabetes increasing among children. Some doctors are now proposing the more radical approach of weight-loss surgery for obese youngsters, but some believe that the role of parents and raising awareness would still be crucial in the long run.
Qatar has overtaken the US in the obesity stakes: about 70 percent of Qatar’s people are overweight and 41 percent are obese, according to recent data provided by the Supreme Council of Health.
“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 told Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.