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 ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.