Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 7 July 2020

UAE University partners with UN to tackle obesity

The two institutions will work together to reduce the number of cases of obesity and non-communicable diseases in the UAE

A UAE university and United Nation’s body will create a database to help tackle the high rate of non-communicable diseases in the Emirates.

On Sunday, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and United Arab Emirates University agreed to collaborate to gather evidence on the role of diet and food in preventing obesity and non-communicable diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation, NCDs — illnesses that cannot be directly transmitted from one person to another — account for more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of all deaths in the UAE.

The organisations will analyse the relationship between food supply, food value chain, consumption and environment, and their roles in increasing the prevalence of obesity and NCDs.

The aim is to use this data to design a healthy diet action plan that will help reduce levels of obesity and NCDs in the UAE.

“The FAO is very pleased to start this collaboration with UAE University,” said Dr Dino Motis, coordinator of the FAO Subregional Office for the GCC States, on Sunday.

“This study will generate extremely relevant evidence on the way food could help us to reduce the prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases”

In September, experts at a medical conference in Abu Dhabi said unhealthy diets and a lack of exercise were leading to a health crisis in the UAE that doctors could not resolve alone.

Doctors said risk factors such as obesity and sedentary lifestyles, smoking, consumption of sugary drinks increased the risk of early death among UAE residents.

"In recent years, the UAE showed an overall rise in the prevalence of and obesity among both children and adults. The level of adult obesity is at a 30 per cent increase in the country while it peaks at 39 per cent for women, against a global average of about 13 cent," said an official statement from the Food and Agriculture Organisation in the UAE.

According to local health authorities, around 40 per cent of children in the UAE are either overweight or obese.

Updated: December 22, 2019 05:37 PM

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