Saturday 30 May 2020

Mobile unit to tackle obesity in Bahraini children

MANAMA, June 17, 2015

Bahrain’s first mobile unit dedicated to combating obesity in children was unveiled yesterday (June 16).

It is expected to almost triple the number of overweight children seen by specialists, who will use the converted truck to conduct health examinations and educate the young on the risks of obesity, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The unit, which cost BD50,000 ($131,711) and has been paid for by the Rotary Club of Salmaniya following a year of fundraising, means that experts are now able to conduct outreach programmes and school visits.

"The greatest thing about this whole thing is that we are able to transfer these services to the schools," Heath Ministry nutrition section head Dr Nadia Gharib told a Press conference at the K Hotel.

"It is hard to break a student's academic schedule and our nutrition clinics at the moment basically cover adults 19 years old and above.

"The ministry tried to transfer the service to schools before for two or three years, however the maximum (children) we could manage (to see) was 150 to 200 students in around four to five months.

"With this mobile unit it will increase to 80 to 100 a month, so in four months we hope that we could come to around 350 students."

Latest Health Ministry statistics show that approximately 15 per cent of those aged six to 18 are overweight.

Dr Gharib revealed previous trials showed that around half of overweight children who had a consultation lost a significant amount of weight within 10 to 11 weeks.

Most of the money for the unit, which will become operational in September, was raised by the Rotary Club of Salmaniya during its 2013 Raft Race.

"This is the first unit of its kind that is specifically designed to target obesity," said club co-ordination committee member Yusuf Fakhro.

"The idea is preventing problems that arise from obesity.

"Preventing the problems that occur from obesity will be much cheaper to deal with in the long run.

"Although the unit cost in the range of BD50,000, we believe that it is an investment for the future.

"It will educate, help raise awareness and prevent things that are easily preventable at a young age like diabetes."

Club board member and former president Sabahat Isik, who spearheaded its 2013-2014 campaign to tackle childhood obesity said the unit would help reduce government healthcare costs in future and ensure a more productive workforce.

"With this project we aimed to tackle the issue at an early age, leading to healthier families as a whole," she said.

"A healthier child will be more focused on his work and schooling, which eventually will lead to an enhancement of the economy as a whole when the child reaches an age to join the workforce, as well as the money the government will save on the treatment of obesity-related illnesses." - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Mobile | Obesity | Children | unit | combat |

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