Tuesday, 21 November 2017 10:45 GMT
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Discourage feasts, US expert tells Gulf govts

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A US- based health expert has called on the governments in the Gulf countries to discourage open buffets in restaurants and public functions saying that they are a major contributor to the high prevalence of obesity and diabetes in the region. According to Dr Osama Hamdy, Medical Director of Obesity Clinical Programme and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, prevalence of diabetes in the Middle East was projected to rise by 105 percent by the year 2025. Hamdy, who is also a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) was addressing the press yesterday on the sidelines of an International Diabetes Course at the Intercontinental Hotel. "Governments should ban open buffets to prevent the uncontrolled consumption of high-calorie food and encourage healthy food habits among the population. Obesity which is directly linked with diabetes is alarmingly on the rise in the region, particularly among children," said Hamdy. Dr Abdulla Al Hamaq, executive director, Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA), Dr Mahmoud Zirie, consultant and head of Endocrinology at the Hamad Medical Corporation and Muhammad Banat, sales manager, GlaxoSmithKline was also present on the occasion. Hamdy said four GCC countries- Qatar, UAE- Bahrain and Kuwait- were among the ten countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world. "By 2025, prevalence of diabetes is expected to rise by 105 per cent in the East Mediterranean countries, while the projected increase in the Europe is 25 percent and in the US, 52 percent," said Hamdy. The prevalence in the South Asian and African countries could be even higher, with an expected rise of about 111 percent. Asked about the high prevalence of diabetes among Asian workers in the Gulf, Hamdy said it was due to a combination of genetic factors and those related to the environment and life style. " Prevalence of diabetes in the South Asian countries is high mainly because of genetic factors. About 15 to 16 percent of the population in these countries are found to be diabetic. As for Asians migrating to other countries, the chances of developing diabetes is higher due to a change in lifestyle and eating habits," he said. He said AACE that had tied up with QDA to organise the international course is planning to organise an international conference on diabetes in Qatar next year. Zirie and Al Hamaq said the QDA was planning to conduct a new survey to assess the prevalence of diabetes among the Qatari population. According to a survey conducted in 1999, 15 percent of the Qatari population was found to be diabetic. There was another survey conducted in 2008 that put the prevalence rate at 16 percent. "There is the need for a fresh and more authentic survey and we are preparing to do that," said Zirie. The international course attended by doctors from the private and public healthcare sectors here gave more insight into various aspects of diabetes and obesity.


Discourage feasts, US expert tells Gulf govts

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