ABU DHABI // A national schools programme to reduce childhood obesity has been praised by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) during a conference in Saudi Arabia.
The rate of diabetes in the Mena region is expected to increase from 34 million to almost 59 million by 2030, Unicef told conference delegates.
But an obesity prevention programme introduced at eight state schools during the 2011-2012 academic year, was yielding good results, Unicef said.
"The programme is a great success and has received acclaim and positive feedback from students and parents," said Dr Dalia Haroun, programmes consultant for Unicef Gulf area office.
The programme was introduced under the patronage of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of the late Sheikh Zayed, and more than 3000 students participated.