Obesity among Omani adults lowest in GCC

Oman Sunday 03/July/2016 20:38 PM
By: Times News Service
Obesity among Omani adults lowest in GCC

Muscat: Oman is ranked number one among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with the lowest under-5 overweight prevalence as well as the lowest prevalence of obesity in adults.
According to the Global Nutrition Report 2016, Oman is ranked seventh among 126 countries for the lowest under-5 overweight prevalence, and has emerged as the first among GCC states.
Obesity has long been an issue in the Gulf region, known to house some of the most obese people on Earth. Children and adults alike enjoy fatty foods, junk food and other unhealthy concoctions.
Oman, according to the report, was ranked first among the neighbouring GCC states, followed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Data for Bahrain, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) was not available.
Dr Partha Sarathi, Paediatrician at the Badr Al Sama Hospital, confirmed that children in the Sultanate were hardly found to be overweight.
“I do deal with children, but it is not very frequent (to see overweight children). Here, the instance of obesity among children is really low when compared to western countries,” said Dr. Partha.
However, low be the number of obese children in Oman, they still require attention. Failure to exercise and not playing much outdoors has allowed them to put on weight and be deemed obese.
Dr. Mohammad, Internal Medicine Specialist at the Atlas Hospital, said, “Children are not playing much nowadays; they are sitting in front of laptops, tablets and mobile phones.”
“They also consume more food in the form of junk food, soft drinks and other such stuff,” he continued.
He added that now children go to school in cars instead of on foot.
The Times of Oman asked Dr Partha whether any initiatives are on. He said, “It (awareness) is there but parents have realised that junk food isn’t good for the health of their children. We organise our own awareness campaigns for the children and parents.”
Some feel that parents play a major role in nurturing their children and not realising what they are feeding their children results in them becoming overweight with time.
A resident of Muscat, RodoljubMihajlov, said, “Parents play a key role when it comes to eating habits of children. Some friends who work as teachers in schools say children bring with them chips, fast food and similar foods in their lunch boxes. I think those parents should be arrested for negligence.”
The Global Nutrition Report also placed Oman as number one in the GCC with the lowest adult obesity rate, followed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar. However that may be, Oman is ranked 168 among 190 countries, which means the Sultanate is among the countries with the highest adult obesity prevalence.
Dr. Mohammad warned that obesity can lead to insulin resistance, more fat deposited, diabetes; hypertension through cholesterol and increase in uric acid. The individual could suffer a stroke. “Every such complication is related to obesity,” Dr Mohammad said.
Vinod Varma, a resident, said, “Today, due to all the comforts in life, life has become easier in Oman. The availability of food all the time, anywhere, has ensured more calories are being consumed per person, whether male or female. Hence, the weight gain and inactivity.”
“Junk food and almost non nutritious foods are definitely the causes of obesity. Add to it ignorance and lack of knowledge about food/calories,” he added.
Dr. Mohammad, however, explained that some people inherit obesity from their parents and don’t necessarily eat junk food to gain weight.
Even environmental factors can be the cause and is seen as the main culprit for obesity.
“A fraction of the people will have a genetic factor from their father or mother, but mainly it is environmental,” said Dr. Mohammad.