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#ReadersResponse: Oman residents urge each other to eat healthier
December 8, 2018 | 7:14 PM
by Times News Service
The recommended dietary allowance for fruit and vegetables is globally accepted as five portions per person per day.
 
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Muscat: Residents and citizens of Oman have asked one another to eat healthier, after a new survey released by the Ministry of Health showed that more than two-thirds of expats didn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.



The National Survey on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) reported that 69.3 per cent of the non-Omanis surveyed said they didn’t eat the required amount of fruits and vegetables in a day. The recommended dietary allowance for fruit and vegetables is globally accepted at five portions per person per day.

Many residents said parents were to blame for not encouraging the habit of eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis among their kids.

“The issue is that there isn’t much healthy food while dining out. I also blame parents for not making eating vegetables a habit among their kids. They load kids up with junk food, which is not good at all, especially since it’s the cheapest meal you can have while eating outside,” said Adnan Bey.


“Many people who complain about not eating fruits suffer from diabetic diseases or are worried about them,” added Kunjusankaran Ramesh Babu. “However, the fruits come from foreign countries, affecting their taste after consumption.”

The number was significantly lower for Omanis, of whom only 57.5 per cent did not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Overall, the figure stood at 60.7 per cent of the population. The statistics showed that 63.9 per cent of males and 57.3 per cent of females did not get enough fruit and vegetable servings in a day.

“I’d say the high price and lack of quality produce would explain this,” said Diane Sanderson, while Glen McNaughton added, “It is difficult to get decent fruits and vegetables.” Williams Shari further added, “This has a lot to do with the price of the products and a lack of quality.”

Rashid Nazir asked, “When you get meat cheaper than fruits and vegetables, what will you eat?” Helen Sayers said, “In Muscat, we don’t often see the lovely and delicious little Salalah bananas. These should be less expensive than the imported varieties and it would support local farmers. Can the Omani mango trade also be encouraged along with other local produce? But most of all, advertising junk food and fizzy drinks could be banned.”

Although many residents complained about the lack of fresh fruits in the markets, others were quick to point out that fruits and veggies were readily available all over town.

Michael Hewison said fresh fruits and vegetables were easily found in the country. “It is impractical to say that fresh produce is not available in the markets. Spinneys, Lulu, Carrefour, they all have good produce available from many countries and they are quite affordable. Some complain that the fruits they want are not available, but seasonal fruits are available throughout the year. If Spanish oranges are available in the summer, then Australian oranges can be bought in the winter.”

Suresh Babu added, “There is more than enough variety in all the shops, so people should not complain about a lack of options. There are more options in this part of the world than you will find in some other areas. Every corner shop has some kind of fruit or the other, and if you want more affordable varieties, you can always go to the fresh fruits market in Mabella, where fresh fruit comes every day.”

The national survey of NCDs and their risk factors at the national level was carried out on a sample size of 9,045 Omani and non-Omani families distributed across all the governorates of the Sultanate in cooperation with the competent departments of the Ministry of Health and the WHO.

Political leadership and commitment are essential to promote physical activity and other measures to prevent avoidable deaths from NCDs,” said Dr Svetlana Akselrod, WHO Assistant Director-General for NCDs and mental health.

“We must get the world moving,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Increasing physical activity is not an issue that can be solved solely by the education sector or the transport sector; action is needed by all sectors. Our job is to create a world that will help our children become active and make it easier for people to walk and cycle in cities.”

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