60pc UAE residents are ‘physically more active’
Dubai, July 17, 2014
About 60 per cent of UAE residents are engaging in exercise between one to three times per week, for a healthy living, a 10 per cent increase, according to a recent study.
The Zarca Interactive study, conducted during the first quarter of the year, found that 86 per cent of respondents generally checked the manufacturing and expiry of the products, while 64 per cent checked the ingredients.
This is an improvement for a country, which has one of the highest density of obese popoulation worldwide according to a UN report, with 33.7 per cent of the UAE population identified as having serious weight problems.
Javed Farooqui, executive director and head of Middle East and Africa, said: “Compared to the previous study, there is a noticeable growing number of respondents who are getting physically more active and following a healthy lifestyle. There is a 10 per cent increase of respondents between last study’s 50 per cent and this study’s 60 per cent who exercise one to three times per week, with 38 per cent following a daily balanced diet and proper nutrition.
“Of the most activities respondents prefer to regularly do are walking 65 per cent, running 24 per cent, aerobics 19 per cent, weight training 15 per cent and swimming 11 per cent.”
About 44 per cent of the respondents in the survey said they eat fried foods only during weekends while 12 per cent never eat them, compared to last study’s 39 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
The study has revealed that of all the surveyed Gulf countries, UAE’s population is the highest in terms of active involvement and engagement in health and fitness campaigns.
About 42 per cent of respondents have actively participated in public and private health campaigns including the diabetic health campaign, breast cancer campaign and anti-obesity campaign.
The fifth nation-wide online health independent study in the UAE witnessed the participation of 814 respondents across the sevent emirates, aged between 16 and 55 years across different genender split. It included about 38 per cent Asian expats, 29 per cent Arab expats, 17 per cent Emiratis and nine per cent Western expats.
The study also found that online media plays an important role in spreading health and fitness awareness, with about 65 per cent of respondents mentioning that they mostly rely on online health and fitness websites as their main source of information keeping them up to date with health and nutrition topics.
It was followed by TV programmes with about 57 per cent of respondents heavily depending on them and 32 per cent relied on health and fitness maganzines.
The respondents have also shown better food consumption habits when it comes to their daily food intake, as more stress is being drawn to having a daily good mixture of foods (including carbohydrates, protein, fiber and fats), said the survey.
“The study results have shown that the efforts that UAE Government has been investing over the past years, are reflected on the improved health and fitness behaviour among Locals and Expats”, said Farooqui.
It also found a visible change in respondents’ health and fitness behaviour, with about 63 per cent regularly checking and keeping a record of their weights, 64 per cent checking the food nutrition value, and 86 per cent checking the manufacturing and expiry dates.
About 43 per cent of respondents have expressed some concerns about the extra weight they have, with about 16 per cent considering themselves obese.
Of the respondents who consider themselves over weight 60 per cent are males, who have shown enthusiastic change of behavior replacing a lazy/unhealthy lifestyle to a more energetic one with regular exercising and monitoring of food intake.
Of the females who consider themselves overweight (40 per cent), they have shown slight interest in converting their lazy lifestyle to a more dynamic one, as they have expressed interest in only walking as opposed to taking extra care of their food intake. - TradeArabia News Service