UAE obesity epidemic

Shocking statistics show more than half of children in the UAE are obese

More than half of children in the UAE are obese and in danger of developing Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease unless urgent action is taken, a senior health official warned on Wednesday.

Dr Mariam Al Matroushi, director of health legislation and school health programmes said it was vital that legislation to control junk food advertisements was brought in to limit its influence on the younger generation.

Quoting World Health Organisation (WHOstandards, she said more than 50 percent of the children in the country are considered obese, according to a report in Gulf News.

She warned that overweight women are more likely to have overweight children, and that unless action was taken to improve the public's health, the UAE was facing a chronic disease epidemic in the future.

Al Matroushi, speaking at an obesity conference in Abu Dhabi, said that 71 percent of the Emirati adult population is obese, while, according to WHO forecasts, the number of obese Emirati women is set to rise to 81 percent by 2015.

The doctor also criticised the rise in the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables while the price of junk food has fallen and meals have been ‘super-sized'.

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