Obesity In UAE Introduction
Within the United Arab Emirates, Obesity is a major health challenge. In a study carried out by Forbes, it revealed that UAE ranks among the top 18 fattest nations in the world, approximating around 68.3 percent of the population as overweight. Thus, while UAE is a small country, it is among the major regions facing the obesity plague (Harding, 2012). UAE’s obesity prevalence raises numerous concerns since it is affiliated with various co-morbidities that affect healthcare experts, individuals, and officials in government. The common illnesses linked to obesity comprise of diabetes, joint and bone disorders, and cardiovascular illness (Rizvi, 2015). Thus, to raise awareness concerning obesity as a major risk force for numerous medical situations, UAE’s private and public sectors have introduced different health preventive activities.
Within the UAE, the VLCC is embarking on minimizing obesity incidence after recognizing the severe repercussions for the community in case the situation remains unaddressed. The initial obesity awareness movement by the organization took place in the UAE in 2006. The role of the campaign was to educate people concerning the condition (Mussa, et al., 2015). Since that time, the Anti-Obesity Drive initiative has emerged as an annual occasion, carrying the catchphrase “Say No to Obesity.” The yearly endeavor focuses on raising awareness concerning the prevalence of obesity while educating individuals on how they can improve their daily physical activity and nutrition habits (LEEC, 2011).
In 2009, for instance, the Anti-Obesity Drive emphasized on the psychological influence of obesity toward overweight individuals, while a panel culminated the campaign by presenting research findings of an investigation survey carried out. The study disclosed that around 98 percent of the overweight participants acknowledged that Dubai's inactive lifestyle resulted in the obese situation (Harding, 2012). For the Anti-Obesity Drive of 2010, it targeted the perceptions that individuals have toward obesity in line with the physical complications associated with the condition (Mussa, et al., 2015). In the current study, it expands to include over 50 healthcare experts across the UAE to offer insights concerning the opinions of the medical field professionals focusing on the obesity topic.
Assessment Of Obesity Among UAE citizens
In explaining the perceptive assessment of obesity among UAE citizens, VLCC Health Care Ltd (VLCC) carried out a survey recently that comprised of 750 community members, mostly UAE residents as well as around 50 healthcare experts (mostly physicians) across the region. The study targeted introducing significant findings associated with the opinions of individuals and obesity observations. The investigation also emphasizes on some misconceptions that the public has concerning obesity as well as adopting a healthy lifestyle, whereas healthcare experts focus on eliminating the misunderstandings and advising on the ideal approaches for minimizing obesity rates.
The mode of undertaking the investigation revolves around distributing surveys to more than 700 individuals and approximately 50 healthcare experts, mostly physicians across the UAE. Each of the participants answers ten questions concerning the perceptions they have toward obesity and the opinions they have regarding the condition. Most of the issues that the providers and the public respond to are similar. They are based on content that compares the beliefs the two groups regarding obesity. The questions' format entails multiple choices with which the participants need to choose between three and five questions (LEEC, 2011). Microsoft Excel will assemble and analyze the survey answers, which will then offer the percentages as well as the graphs of each question's response.
Results and Findings
From the results, it was estimated that 49 percent of people in Dubai would perceive themselves as not underweight or overweight, hence leading them to be regarded as normal. Twenty-three percent comprises the people regarding themselves as somewhat overweight. From the around 767 people responding to the survey, just 128 (17 percent) see themselves as underweight (significantly or slightly). Fifty percent stipulate that their weight is healthy whereas 34 percent perceive themselves as overweight (significantly or somewhat) (LEEC, 2011). The results here give insights concerning obesity state in the UAE and the ways that persons recognize it. Figure 1 in the appendix illustrates the situation clearly.
When asking individuals concerning whether overweight persons are unhealthy, approximately 80 percent of the participants agreed they regard obese people as not healthy. Upon undertaking further analysis, the people viewing themselves as overweight are highly likely to support the statement as opposed to the underweight individuals. Eighty-nine of the considerably underweight individuals agree that overweight people are not healthy whereas 82 percent of persons regarding themselves as slightly overweight agree to the same. By contrast, just 70 percent of the individuals considering themselves as slightly underweight regarded overweight persons as unhealthy, while only 62 percent of the hugely underweight acknowledged the statement (LEEC, 2011).
On questioning the individuals as to whether being overweight affects the daily activities of people, around 80 percent of the participants supported the statement. It then reveals that overweight, normal, and underweight individuals regard overweight people as incapable of handling daily activities properly. In support of the statement that being overweight hinders the everyday activities of individuals, 70 percent of slightly overweight individuals agree whereas 90 percent of those considered as substantially overweight support the same. By contrast, 48 percent of skinny people believe that being overweight does not hinder daily activities, which is considerably lower compared to the perception of the obese individuals (LEEC, 2011). Besides, on the question as to whether early results motivate people when they are dieting, most people agree that early results assist in driving individuals to keep losing weight, particularly if they start losing weight for the first time (Harding, 2012).
Perceptions of Healthcare Experts
In responding to the questions of what they believe to be the major obesity causes within the UAE, 72 percent of the health experts perceive the inactive lifestyle as the leading cause, whereas lack of information ranks second. Poor diet, severe climate, and genetic/cultural predisposition follow (Rizvi, 2015). The feedback offers insight concerning the major issues that healthcare experts agree to be the primary reasons that lead to high rates of obesity prevalence across the UAE. Moreover, when asked about the clinical situations they affiliated with being overweight, most healthcare experts attribute diabetes are the primary condition associated with the prevalence of obesity. The response is supported by the severely high prevalence of obesity in the UAE, which also presents the second uppermost diabetes rate worldwide (LEEC, 2011). Cardiovascular illness ranks second as a medical illness affiliated with obesity whereas carcinoma, as well as joint and bone disorders, follows at third place.
When questioned as to whether there is insufficient information among the UAE population regarding the adverse influences of obesity on health, 64 percent of the healthcare experts agree that there is insufficient information among individuals in the UAE regarding the condition. The statement becomes valid because healthcare experts rank lack of information as the second reason for why people are overweight in the UAE. Nevertheless, it is appealing to realize that while providers of care feel that there is insufficient knowledge, a large number of them agreed that healthcare institutions in the UAE have adequate facilities for assisting in losing weight at 46 percent. Additionally, fifty-six percent of the public respondents felt the same (LEEC, 2011). Thus, this is an indication that both health care experts and individuals are satisfied with the facilities prevalent in the UAE.
Weight Loss Success
Regarding misconceptions of the public, 72 percent of medical experts disagree with the notion that dieting is an ideal way losing weight faster. They reveal that the ideal way of losing weight would be through following a steady and slow approach to facilitate in attaining permanent and sustainable outcomes. Regarding the response of the public to the same question, 50 percent of them disagree with the statement whereas more than 17 percent lack vivid information concerning the approaches one should follow to lose weight (Harding, 2012)t. In the opinion of the health care providers, when asked about the ideal way of losing weight, they agree that it would be ideal to seek the assistance of licensed professionals, including doctors, nutritionists, and health educators as shown in Figure 2 in the appendix. Over 40 percent of the individuals answering the question, they do not see the need of a licensed expert to lose weight. They agree that they are capable of undertaking the task on their own. However, this is a misconception since 94 percent of healthcare experts revealed that assistance from licensed experts, including nutritionists, health educators, and doctors should be sought to emerge successful in losing weight (LEEC, 2011).
Also, on the issue of the huge motivator for losing weight, 49 percent of the participants agree that individuals lose weight for aesthetic purposes rather than for health or medical-related reasons. Here, this serves as a misconception since 80 percent of medical experts agree that the prime reason for losing weight should be driven by health benefits (LEEC, 2011). Also, it is crucial to realize that a large number of overweight individuals prefer losing weight to improve their image as opposed to health reasons hence a misconception concerning effective weight loss. Furthermore, it indicates that their approach to losing weight is mostly driven by factors of lifestyle as opposed to health forces (Mussa, et al., 2015). Additionally, on the issue of whether loss of weight demands significant changes in lifestyle, more than half of the participants supported the idea. It also serves as a major misconception among individual since a large number of healthcare specialists stipulate that persons only need average lifestyle changes to allow them to lose weight in an efficient and sustainable manner (Harding, 2012).
In conclusion, the study reveals appealing findings concerning the ways in which UAE community members and health care experts regard obesity. The investigation also highlights various misconceptions that people have concerning weight loss although healthcare experts attempt to provide the public with effective ways of losing weight in a sustainable manner. Overall, the results reveal that UAE public members need sufficient information concerning obesity and the ideal practices they should adopt to allow them to lose weight in an efficient and sustainable manner, as well as ensure they incorporate the practices in their daily undertakings. Moreover, further awareness and education can play a significant role in reducing the growing obesity rates as well as the co-morbidities associated with the condition. These would ensure that the UAE community continues a healthy lifestyle and remains prosperous.
Harding, N 2012, The true cost of obesity in the UAE, viewed March 18, 2017, <http://gulfnews.com/leisure/health/the-true-cost-of-obesity-in-the-uae-1.1044866>.
LEEC 2011, Obesity in the UAE: Research study reveals public perceptions and misconceptions, Middle East Hospital, Nottingham.
Mussa, BM, Abduallah, Y & Abusnana, S 2015, Prevalence of hypertension and obesity among Emirati patients with type 2 diabetes, viewed March 18, 2017, <https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/prevalence-of-hypertension-and-obesity-among-emirati-patients-withtype-2-diabetes-2155-6156-1000638.php?aid=66596>.
Rizvi, A 2015, Obesity rate in the UAE double the world average, viewed March 18, 2017, <http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/special-report-obesity-rate-in-the-uae-double-the-world-average>.
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