Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet identified as major causes of diabetes in Saudi Arabia

Medical examinations of adults and children were conducted and a comprehensive report on the cases was prepared. (SPA)
Updated 20 November 2017
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Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet identified as major causes of diabetes in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Health experts have expressed their concern over the high prevalence of diabetes cases in Saudi Arabia and blamed sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diet for this dangerous trend.
The Department of Pediatrics at the King Abdulaziz University Hospital recently launched a campaign to increase awareness about diabetes among the masses.
“Medical examinations of adults and children were conducted and a comprehensive report on the cases was prepared,” said Prof. Abdulmoein Eid Al-Agha, who supervised the campaign.
He said the prevalence of diabetes in the Kingdom is exacerbated by the consumption of junk food and beverages.
Al-Agha, also the acting chairman of the university’s Department of Pediatrics, said that some of the cases were referred to hospitals so that they could start receiving proper treatment. He said that during the campaign it was revealed that in most cases, people did not follow proper and healthy diets and were found to be consuming too much sugar and foods with a high-calorie count.
“Reports also showed excessive consumption of fast foods, which are the major cause of obesity,” said Al-Agha.
The health expert also blamed sedentary lifestyle for the spread of obesity and diabetes in the Kingdom.
The Lancet, a British medical journal, has ranked the Kingdom third in the world, after Malta and Swaziland, in terms of obesity and laziness, triggering warnings from Saudi experts such as Dr. Khalid Al-Ajaji.
Al-Ajaji expressed his concern over the high rate of diabetes cases in the Kingdom, adding that a local study found that 70 percent of Saudis were overweight and not obese.
“Many people mix obesity with being overweight. This differs as per the body mass index (BMI),” he said, adding that obesity is not a hereditary disease, but eating habits are mainly to blame for it.
“Habits such as staying awake at night and encouraging others to do so and indulging in eating just for fun lead to obesity and diseases like diabetes and (high) blood pressure,” he said.
He said that the most common cause of obesity is bad eating habits, lack of physical exercise, staying awake late at night and eating just before sleeping.
The British medical journal has put the ratio of laziness and obesity in the Kingdom at 86 percent, which is one of the causes of diabetes, which affects 25 percent of the Saudi population.
Obesity in Saudi Arabia is a growing health concern and it’s one of the leading causes of preventable deaths.
In 2013, it was estimated that almost 382 million people suffer from diabetes and Saudi Arabia was among the top 10 countries of the world with the highest prevalence.


Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

Updated 26 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

  • The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals
  • Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25

NEW YORK: Misk Foundation, the not-for-profit philanthropic organization set up by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has joined forces with the United Nations in a ground-breaking campaign to advance the cause of young people around the world.
The agreement was signed at a ceremony at the UN’s New York headquarters a day after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres launched his own initiative to enlist young people in its strategy for global sustainable development.
The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals (SDG), via a series of meetings and forums as part of the UN’s Strategy for Youth.
The UN’s SDG program is a set of targets for future development, ranging from the elimination of hunger and poverty, through education and gender equality, to action on climate change and energy. It coincides with Saudi Arabia’s own Vision 2030 strategy in many respects.
Misk is the first non-governmental organization to join the campaign. “Misk’s mission is to discover, develop and empower young people to become active participants in the knowledge economy both in Saudi Arabia and globally, through partnerships such as this,” said a joint statement from the Saudi organization and the UN.
“Under the initiatives, young people’s leadership, creativity and innovation skills will be harnessed to bolster their ability to be agents for positive change during the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the SDGs in 2020.
“Adding to the existing Young Leaders for the SDGs initiative, a ‘Youth Gateway’ central knowledge hub on SDGs is planned, including a platform to map existing initiatives and provide opportunities for engagement, aimed at motivating more young people to take action. Tools will be developed to measure and track global indicators on youth development and well-being,” the statement added.
Bader Alsaker, chairman of the board of the Misk Initiatives Centre, said: "The Misk Foundation is committed to helping as many young people around the world realize their potential in the future economy and to encourage active global citizenship. The strategic agreement that we are signing today shows our commitment to this mission.
“Partnering with the United Nations will greatly enhance its vital work around the world to help young people from all backgrounds to realize their potential and meet the SDGs,” he added.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary-general’s envoy on youth, added: “This major contribution towards the UN Secretariat’s work on youth will be used to operationalize the new UN Strategy on Youth with a focus on advancing our collective efforts to support youth mobilization for the 2030 Agenda worldwide.
“It comes at crucial time, immediately after the public launch of the UN’s Youth Strategy, which shows the commitment and dedication of the Misk Foundation to supporting youth development globally,” she added.
Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25. Many of the policies of the Vision 2030 strategy to reduce oil dependency focus on the need for more and better employment for young people.
According to a recent global poll for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, young people have a far more optimistic view of their own future, as well as that of their country, than older people. “Young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents' generation,” Gates found.
Sultan Al-Musallam, global ambassador of the Misk Foundation, told the UN: “The core belief held by youth, that our problems can only be solved together, in a way that is blind to race, religion or region, is also the bedrock of the UN.”