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Bahraini men among 'fattest' in the world

Obesity rates spark alert in Bahrain

MANAMA, September 17, 2014

Bahraini men are some of the fattest in the world, according to a new book.

The Economist's Pocket World in Figures 2015 puts Bahrain fourth in the world for portly men, with 31 per cent of the adult male population reportedly overweight as measured by their body mass index (BMI), said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Only Qatar, with 44 per cent, Kuwait, with 43.4 per cent and the US, with 31.7 per cent, have a greater proportion of overweight men who are over the age of 20.

"Obesity is a real and growing problem," Health Ministry public health directorate nutrition section head Dr Nadia Gharib told the GDN.

"It is a complex, chronic disease that develops from an interaction of genetic makeup and the environment.

"However, the primary causes of the rapid rise in obesity rates in Bahrain lie in the profound environmental and societal changes related to modernisation and changing occupational structures.

"This rapid transition has created a society with low physical activity alongside the increased availability of high fat, energy dense foods."

In an attempt to encourage more Bahrainis to put down the junk food and get some exercise, the Health Ministry has launched nutrition clinics at health centres, starting with a pilot phase in 2008.

"The target population included all adult patients with weight problems referred by health centres," said Dr Gharib.

"We now have five clinics covering the five governorates in Bahrain and one more is set to open in 2015.

"They are open once or twice a week in Arad, Hidd, Dair, Hamad Town, and Hamad Kanoo Health Centre in East Riffa and we have served around 3,000 clients so far."

More than 70 per cent of those who attend the clinics show some sort of weight loss, Dr Gharib said, with just 2.65 per cent continuing to gain weight.

"Data analysis shows a significant drop in BMI values between the first and second visits and it also shows a continuous loss of BMI following the subsequent visits four to six weeks later," she said.

"The next step is to extend the programme so that by 2016 it also reaches schoolchildren.

"A mobile clinic is currently touring schools to encourage healthy eating and exercise habits from a younger age.

"However, in view of the high rates of overweight and obese children in Bahrain, affecting 30 per cent of boys and 33 per cent of girls aged six to 12 in 2012, we want to make sure children and adolescents who need to lose weight can join the programme too." - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Obesity | Alert | Fat | men |

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