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.


Sweet victory as rising star wins Jeddah baking contest

Updated 18 March 2019
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Sweet victory as rising star wins Jeddah baking contest

  • More than 120 women submitted a range of bakery creations and 10 finalists were selected
  • The winner won various prices and will have the chance to create her own business with the help of sponsors

JEDDAH: A Saudi woman has won a prestigious home-baking competition after being encouraged to enter the contest by her daughter.

Reem Rida Khashoggi beat nine other finalists in the Jeddah-based Golden Whisk competition with one of the simplest desserts of the night — “petit four” biscuits served in a small box that drew unanimous praise from the judges on Sunday.

“I got into this competition through my daughter,” Khashoggi told Arab News after accepting the trophy. “She has pushed me to improve and convinced me to be a part of this.” 

The Golden Whisk competition was organized by Crate, a Jeddah concept store that encourages local entrepreneurs, along with Mariam Haddad, owner of a bakery in Crate and one of the judges. 

More than 120 women submitted a range of bakery creations for judging with 10 finalists chosen for Sunday’s showdown.

Khashoggi said she gained her baking experience by “randomly opening recipe books and studying recipes.”

“I started baking with petit four biscuits and the reaction I received from the people was amazing,” she said.

Her daughter, Heba Bakri, said was “beyond happy” to see her mother win. “I am so proud, she is a great person. Congratulations, mom. You deserve the best,” she added.

The competition finale was hosted by Abdulrahman Baaghil, co-creator of Jeddah Attractions, and judges Basma El-Khereiji, chef behind the Social Kitchen, and Raneen Joudah, a home baker, together with Haddad.

“I believe that it is an act of giving back to society by getting involved with small bakers, especially people who are just starting their careers,” said El-Khereiji. 

Contestants’ offerings were judged on taste, presentation, creativity and originality. 

The winner will have the chance to create her own business with the help of recognition from startup Bakery M, design services from Loud, shelf space at Crate, a range of products from Baker’s Choice and a SR1,500 voucher from Chef & Chef.