A ‘weighty’ bomb ticking for 50% of women

Updated 15 March 2014
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A ‘weighty’ bomb ticking for 50% of women

Around half of the Saudi women and a third of men do not engage in any form of physical activity, a Health Ministry survey has revealed.
Less than a third of both men and women engage in light physical activity, and there is a more than 72 percent rate of obesity among Saudis over 40 and an 18-percent obesity rate in children, show survey results.
Lack of awareness is the main reason behind obesity in Saudi Arabia, according to Dr. Anwar Masoud, a dietician at a private hospital in Jeddah.
“Many Saudis don’t understand how dangerous it is to be overweight. They don’t even undergo a checkup unless they feel tired or pain,” he said. “We have launched many campaigns, but Saudis want the easy way out. Many undergo bypass surgery and liposuction to look slimmer and feel lighter,” he said.
Expensive gyms and street harassment keep women away from exercise. “I have tried joining different private gyms, but prices are beyond my budget. They never see this as an opportunity to help people lose weight. It is always a business opportunity to make money out of desperate people,” said Lamia Aziz, a student who weighs over 100 kg. “I am too ashamed of leaving the house or even go for a run because I am routinely bullied about my looks,” she said.
Aziz says it is impossible for her to do anything about it because she can’t afford joining a diet program.
“People think I gave up and some of them think it is easy to lose weight, whereas in reality, shedding a few kilos could take up to a month,” she said. Masoud says private and public hospitals should launch a social responsibility program to help those who find it difficult to lose weight. “The Ministry of Education should also launch an awareness program to help students understand the impact of gaining weight.”
Stay-at-home mother Maha Mohammed expressed surprise at how such an issue is being highlighted after lengthy debates at the Shoura Council about whether to allow sports at school for women. “If we raised our women to love sports and educate them about the importance of engaging in physical activity, they would make the effort to practice sports on a daily basis,” she said.
“Women are not seeing exercise as an essential factor because they were forbidden from playing sports at school, where they spend most of their time. School is an institution that teaches kids not only subjects, but attitude and lifestyle, so they shouldn’t blame our women for being fat and they should fix the problem at the root,” she said.


San Francisco becomes first major US city to ban e-cigarette sales

This file photo taken on October 02, 2018 shows a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC on October 2, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 26 June 2019
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San Francisco becomes first major US city to ban e-cigarette sales

  • Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among young people in the country

LOS ANGELES: San Francisco on Tuesday became the first major US city to effectively ban the sale and manufacture of electronic cigarettes.
The city’s legislature unanimously approved an ordinance which backers said was necessary due to the “significant public health consequences” of a “dramatic surge” in vaping among youths.
The ordinance says e-cigarette products sold in shops or online in San Francisco would need approval by federal health authorities, which none currently has.
US health authorities are alarmed by the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes, battery-powered devices which enable users to inhale nicotine liquids that are often fruit flavored.
The number of young Americans using e-cigarettes grew by 1.5 million in 2018, with about 3.6 million middle and high school students using vaping products.
San Francisco is home to market-leading e-cigarette maker Juul.
The city’s mayor London Breed has 10 days to sign the legislation, which she has said she will do.
“We need to take action to protect the health of San Francisco’s youth and prevent the next generation of San Franciscans from becoming addicted to these products,” Breed said in a statement Tuesday ahead of the vote.
She added that e-cigarette companies were “targeting our kids in their advertising and getting them hooked on addictive nicotine products.”
But critics say the legislation will make it harder for people seeking alternatives to regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes do not contain the cancer-causing products found in tobacco.
An editorial in the Los Angeles Times noted that regular cigarettes were still for sale in San Francisco, arguing that “it’s bad public health policy to come down harder on the lesser of two tobacco evils.”
Juul said in a statement Monday that a ban would “not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers.”
Concern is growing about the potential health consequences of vaping, which remain largely unknown in part because the practice is so new.
Experts point out that it took decades to determine that smoking tobacco — which accounts for more than seven million premature deaths worldwide every year — is truly dangerous.
Beside the well-known addictive consequences of consuming nicotine, public health experts are focusing on the effect of heating the liquid nicotine cartridges to high temperatures.
The San Francisco ordinance text said that nicotine exposure during adolescence “can harm the developing brain” and “can also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.”
Unlike an e-cigarette ban in force in Singapore, the San Francisco legislation does not restrict the use of vaping products.
Recreational cannabis use has been legal in California for people over the age of 21 since January 1, 2018.