(CTN News) – According to the most recent overweight figures released ahead of World Obesity Day, almost 60% of Saudi Arabia’s adult population is overweight or obese. However, Saudi Arabia is still better off than many of its GCC neighbors.
The Global Obesity Observatory reports that a total of 22.2% of people in the Kingdom are categorized as obese – with a body mass index higher than 30 (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters), while 38.2% are categorized as overweight.
The GCC’s least obese country is Saudi Arabia.
There are almost 80 percent of Kuwaitis who are overweight or obese, followed by Bahrain (72.4 percent), Qatar (70.1 percent), the UAE (67.9 percent) and Oman (66.2 percent).
Saudi Arabia has 10.5 percent overweight or obese under-18s, compared to 48.5% in Kuwait.
In recent decades, obesity rates have increased dramatically worldwide, especially in the Middle Eastern regions. Globally, obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1975 and increased five times among children and adolescents. The problem affects people of all ages.
The increasing prevalence of obesity is largely attributed to sedentary lifestyles, lack of physical activity, and high calorie diets.
March 4 is World Obesity Day, which promotes practical solutions to end obesity worldwide.
There must be more done to tackle the epidemic in the UAE, doctors said.
“Obesity is a disease of the age, and it is a disease that is spreading across the globe,” said Dr. Haitham Anwar Sawalmeh, an obesity surgery consultant at Prime Hospital in Dubai.
It is caused by lifestyle changes in many societies, such as lack of physical activity, poor nutritional quality, and access to unhealthy foods.
He mentioned genetic and physiological factors as other causes of obesity.
“Obesity leads to many diseases and can result in metabolic syndrome, which results in diabetes, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and fats, hardening of the arteries and heart attacks.”
As a result of excess weight, it can also cause shortness of breath, night suffocation and ovarian cysts. It is also associated with infertility in both men and women.
As obesity leads to depression, depression also leads to obesity.
In the Saudi German Hospital in Sharjah, Dr Rajesh Sisodiya, a general and laparoscopic surgeon, echoed his viewpoint.
The time has come for sustained efforts to combat the growing obesity epidemic in our society, he told Al Arabiya English. Our obese colleagues need to be motivated to comply with (healthier) diets.”
There is also a need for bariatric surgeries for weight loss, which have repeatedly been shown to improve quality of life through the control of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetic remission, and reduced morbidity related to cardiovascular disease.
We should encourage our insurance companies and governing bodies to support bariatric surgery as it reduces the total cost of health care and promotes a healthy society.