Sunday 21 October 2018

UAE ranks fifth in global obesity index

DUBAI, November 14, 2017

The UAE United Arab Emirates is ranked fifth in global obesity index, with 40 per cent of 11 to 16 year olds and 20 per cent of children under the age of 11 classified as obese, according to the Food Security Index.

Moreover, the UAE has the fifth most incidence of diabetes among Middle Eastern countries, with 19 per cent or a fifth of the population suffering from the disease. The Mena region has the highest rate of increase in diabetes in the world and is projected to almost double (96.2 per cent) by 2035.

PureCircle, the world's leading producer and innovator of great-tasting stevia sweeteners for the global beverage and food industry, recognizes the need for further education around stevia in the region, with well over half (55 per cent) of those surveyed still unaware of the benefits of using stevia.

Of those 55 per cent, 39 per cent were male and 24 per cent were aged 25-34 – an age group generally considered to be well informed on subjects such as health, diet and wellness.

When given information on stevia, a zero-calorie alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant, almost three quarters (74 per cent) of all those surveyed said they would be likely to use stevia. Also, the overwhelming majority of all those surveyed - 75 per cent agreed that they would prefer a naturally sourced sweetener to an artificially sourced sweetener.

Olivier Kutz, director of EMEA Region Sales at PureCircle, said: “Food and beverage companies operating in UAE have an enormous opportunity to meet consumer and healthcare professionals’ demand to reduce sugar content and overall calories in their products, without sacrificing taste, by utilizing great-tasting, zero-calorie stevia ingredients.”

“Given the high incidence of diabetes and obesity in the UAE - a figure that is set to double to almost 96 per cent of the population by 2035 – there is a real opportunity for stevia in this market. Food and beverage products formulated with naturally-sourced stevia allow consumers to maintain a more balanced diet, whilst still enjoying the products they love,” he added. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: stevia |

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