Kuwait tops Arab world in obesity, 77% population overweight.

People at risk of heart diseases, diabetes, high BP: Dr. Al-Bahouh

Head of health enhancement administration at the Ministry of Health Dr. Abeer Al-Bahouh affirmed that the rise in obesity rate in Kuwait, especially between the age of 18 to 29, calls for early intervention to fight obesity. In an interview with KUNA on Saturday, Dr. Al-Bahouh noted that statistics have shown a prominent rise in obesity, making Kuwait become the number one country in the Arab World, with 77 percent of the total population being overweight, while obesity rate is over 40 percent. Being overweight is a global problem, with expectations that four billion people will suffer from the issue by 2035, compared with 2.6 billion people in 2020.

This is reflected by the rise in population numbers from 38 percent in 2020 to an expected above 50 percent by 2035, she added. She noted that obesity rate is expected to be the highest among children and teenagers, rising from ten percent to 20 percent among boys from 2020 to 2035, while the percentage among girls will go from eight to 18 percent around the world. Meanwhile, Dr Al-Bahouh warned against the risks obesity pose for people’s health, including heart and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and high pressure. She added that obesity is the fifth main cause of death. Obesity has many negative impact on children’s health as well, such as trouble breathing, fatigue, sweating, snoring, joint pain and late puberty for girls and boys, she said. Children’s obesity is caused by bad eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, genetic factors, intestine flora and Cushing’s syndrome.

According to local statistics and the World Health Organization (WHO), one out of five adults suffer from extreme obesity in the Gulf, she said, adding that obesity rate among adults in Kuwait is expected to reach 52 percent by 2035. Treating obese children begins with teaching them healthy eating habits, encourage them to engage in physical activity, therapy sessions with a psychiatrist and treating patients with health issues leading to obesity, the doctor noted. As for surgery targeting the stomach and intestines for weigh loss, Dr Al-Bahouh affirmed that it’s a suitable step for teenagers and not children.

She stressed that these surgeries do not replace a proper diet and exercise, but they are an initial step to help people to start their weight loss journey. It is the parents reponsibility to watch what their children eat and teach them to replace fast foods and soft drinks with fruits, vegetables, wholewheat products, water, natural juices and low fat milk, she added. She underlined the importance of physical exercise, having a steady sleeping time, spending time with family doing fun activities and avoiding spending too much time playing video-games or watching TV. Dr Abeer also affirmed the need for the Ministry of Health to launch programs and strategies to fight obesity, and make physical education be a compulsory subject in schools. The administration is continuously launching campaigns in cooperation with other bodies outside the ministry, aiming to limit obesity in the coming five years, the doctor said.

Source- Arab Times.

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