GCC residents ignore a 'weighty' problem
Dubai, November 26, 2013
Obesity is a serious health issue in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and awareness about this growing problem is increasing in the region, according a new survey.
However, despite being aware of the consequences, a majority of the survey respondents indulge in unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits, the YouGov survey said.
About 85 per cent respondents in the survey considered obesity a major health issue.
The GCC ranks among the world’s most obese regions, according to a report issued by the United Nations in July.
The respondents agreed that diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol are also serious health problems in their country of residence.
Among online respondents in the GCC, women are more likely to identify these diseases as a threat than men, said the survey.
In an effort to reduce obesity rates, many countries in the GCC are launching initiatives to reduce obesity among their populations.
‘Your Weight in Gold,’ a weight loss challenge launched by the Dubai Municipality awarded Dh2.8 million ($762,268) in gold to winners based on how much weight they lost.
Despite such initiatives, attitudes towards nutrition remain problematic among online respondents in the GCC, as do eating habits, said the survey.
Among online respondents in the GCC, more than half (56 per cent) claim to eat out in a restaurant/café or fast-food outlet at least once a week, a significantly higher percentage compared to online respondents in North Africa (43 per cent) and Levant (38 per cent).
Also, when discussing health-related attributes such as, “I pay careful attention to what I eat”, “I believe food can be healthy and tasty at same time” and “taking care of my health is a priority for me” a lower proportion of online respondents in the GCC seem to be health conscious compared to those from North African and the Levant.
Fina Robles, healthcare research specialist at YouGov, said: “The results show us that most of the residents across the GCC countries are aware of the serious consequence that obesity and cardiovascular diseases bring to their health. However, despite their understanding, their lifestyle and eating habits do not reflect that, as many continue enjoying the guilty pleasures of fast-food on a weekly basis. It appears therefore to be a need for training on good healthy habits and benefits, instead of limiting the health campaigns to awareness and consequences of obesity.” - TradeArabia News Service