A 2016 health survey conducted by the Dubai Health Authority stated that 36.1% of the total population was considered to be in the pre-obesity stage, i.e. they were overweight and nearing obesity unless the necessary actions were taken. And 11.9% of the total population included obese individuals.
Obesity is a growing health concern across the world, causing various chronic health conditions and reducing people’s life expectancy. Obesity and being overweight are terms used to describe weight that is generally unhealthy for a given age and height.
As defined by the WHO, obesity is abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Excessive fat accumulation is caused by a combination of factors including, genetics, high-calorie intake, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle practices etc. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI) – a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of their height (in meters). A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese, while a person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight. Obesity is now a growing phenomenon across the globe and is directly linked to causing some of the preventable chronic diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, knee and joint problems, stroke, conditions of the heart, as well as certain cancers.
So why are people in Dubai becoming obese? Genetic and cultural factors do play a role in determining an individual’s chance of becoming obese, however, most people blame it on their sedentary lifestyles, long working hours, unhealthy food practices, lack of physical activity, and easily available fast food options. We all give these excuses, but do we realize that we are letting these factors get in the way of good health. Are these really the causative factors for obesity?