More than 40% of Saudis are obese

More than 40% of Saudis are obese
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The problem with diabetes is in its dangerous complications such as cardiovascular disease and damage of kidney and many more. (SPA)
More than 40% of Saudis are obese
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There are 3.8 million diabetics in the Kingdom, representing almost 19 percent of the adult population. (Shutterstock)
More than 40% of Saudis are obese
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The problem with diabetes is in its dangerous complications such as cardiovascular disease and damage of kidney and many more. (SPA)
More than 40% of Saudis are obese
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Abdulrahman Al-Sheikh at a gathering held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jeddah. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 April 2019

More than 40% of Saudis are obese

More than 40% of Saudis are obese
  • Unhealthy lifestyles to blame
  • Diabetes ‘drain’ health budget, says official

JEDDAH: More than 40 percent of Saudi citizens are obese, according to a health official, as two major health campaigns were launched in the Kingdom around diabetes and high blood pressure.
Diabetes and endocrinology consultant and chairman of the Saudi Society for Diabetes, Abdulrahman Al-Sheikh, said the campaigns reflected the principles of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 reform plan which emphasizes the provision of preventive medicine and the fight against chronic diseases.
He said there were 3.8 million diabetics in the Kingdom, representing almost 19 percent of the adult population, and that obesity was a major issue in Saudi society.
“Diabetes drains big sums of any country’s budget allocated for health ministries,” he told Arab News. “More than 40 percent of Saudi citizens are suffering from obesity. When we add overweight cases to this ratio, the number hits 70 percent and these are some of the reasons that have led to the spread of diabetes in Saudi Arabia.”
The high numbers were caused by unhealthy eating habits and low participation in sports, he said, adding: “It is the role of physicians and educators to advise people to practice sports so that we may have fewer diabetes cases in the future. The problem with diabetes is in its dangerous complications such as cardiovascular disease and damage of kidney and many more.”
Around 50 percent of dialysis patients were diabetics, he explained, and the same ratio was found in patients with cardiovascular problems. “A similar number is found with eye patients. That is why such complications are draining 40 percent of the health budget in Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Sheik said that 45 percent of deaths were a result of heart diseases.
“A hundred years ago people died of contagious diseases, especially tuberculosis. With lifestyles improving, heart diseases, which are mainly caused by high blood pressure and diabetes, have become one of the main causes of death, in addition to smoking and cholesterol.”
Diabetics were more vulnerable to hypertension than others, he added, and hypertension was known as a “silent killer” because a patient may die of the disease without prior knowledge of it. “So, a person should always check his or her blood pressure and take necessary medications in case one is diagnosed with hypertension.”
Al-Sheikh said prices for hypertension and diabetes medication were high because manufacturers said their research was costly, but that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) got its pricing from more than 30 countries of any drug and discussed what was best for the local market.
“That’s why we have the lowest prices among neighboring countries. I agree that the prices are globally high, but manufacturers claim that their research is costly, too. However, there are some countries where drug prices are cheaper than they are here, but I am hopeful that the SFDA will have another look at this issue.”
The two campaigns aim to alleviate the pain of patients as well as achieve a safe and high quality of life, according to the reform plan's objectives for the health sector.
The campaigns, sponsored by the French pharmaceutical company Servier, will provide free checks for citizens and residents in commercial centers, malls and communities in most cities and regions in the Kingdom.
The first campaign, which has been approved by the SFDA, is organized in cooperation with the Jeddah-based Friends of Diabetic Patients Charitable Association. The other campaign is organized in cooperation with the Saudi Hypertension Management Society (SHMS) and is currently in the final stages of the SFDA approval process.
Senior consultant and head of the Pediatric Kidney Unit at Al-Qatif Central Hospital, Saleh Al-Shurafa, said the hypertension campaign went beyond the free screening process.
“The campaign aims primarily at raising awareness and shedding light on the importance of early detection and lifestyle modification, especially since the prevalence of high blood pressure is 15 percent in adults in Saudi Arabia,” he told Arab News. “Families can play their role in providing members with home care.”
Al-Shurafa, who is also president of SHMS, said that 70 percent of diabetics around the world had high blood pressure and that was the reason for linking the two campaigns.
“That is why the Ministry of Health and SFDA set controlling blood pressure and diabetes as a priority in their programs. The correlation between the two diseases makes it necessary to fight both diseases in parallel, as this will help to avoid many complications, as well as the need to stimulate society to live a healthy and sustainable life.”
He said SHMS started in 2004 with health specialists from around the country. Their goal was to combine efforts in fighting the diseases and training physicians on how to diagnose and deal with hypertension.

“In 2008, the society expanded its work and was approved internationally. Our main objective is to spread awareness about high blood pressure and its dangers. In addition, we hold courses for both health professionals and members of society.”
SHMS, in coordination with the International Hypertension League and other health organization, will start checking people’s blood pressures from next month in locations such as malls, public places and health centers. “This move aims to spread awareness of dangers that high blood pressure can cause. In this campaign we also urge people to play sports and to follow balanced diets.”


Saudi Arabia confirms 14 COVID-19 deaths, 1,212 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 14 COVID-19 deaths, 1,212 new cases
Updated 21 June 2021

Saudi Arabia confirms 14 COVID-19 deaths, 1,212 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 14 COVID-19 deaths, 1,212 new cases
  • The Kingdom says1,510 patients recovered in past 24 hours

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 14 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,691.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,212 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 475,403 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 10,584 remain active and 1,489 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in Makkah with 376, followed by the capital Riyadh with 233, the Eastern Province with 224, Asir recorded 103, and Jazan confirmed 80 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,510 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 457,128.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs carried out more than 22,000 inspection tours in mosques across the Kingdom during the past week to ensure that health and preventative measures are being implemented.
The ministry said that these monitoring tours are ongoing by mosque observers in the regions, and there are field monitoring committees working around the clock to remove all violations and take all legal measures.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 179 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.88 million.


Qatar receives new Saudi ambassador as the two mend ties

Qatar receives new Saudi ambassador as the two mend ties
Updated 21 June 2021

Qatar receives new Saudi ambassador as the two mend ties

Qatar receives new Saudi ambassador as the two mend ties

DUBAI: Saudi Prince Mansour bin Khalid Al-Saud has submitted a copy of his credentials to Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to become the Saudi ambassador to Doha. 

He is the first to be reinstated by Arab states that had agreed to end a row with Qatar earlier this year. 

Al-Thani wished the new Saudi ambassador success in his duties, assuring him of all support to advance bilateral relations between the two countries to achieve closer cooperation in various fields, according to state-run Qatar News Agency. 

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain had agreed in January to end the boycott imposed in mid-2017 and restore political, trade and travel ties with Doha. Riyadh has taken the lead among the four in re-establishing relations.


Saudi Arabia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic places it at the highest ranks on international indexes

Saudi Arabia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic places it at the highest ranks on international indexes
According to ADAA, Saudi Arabia ranked among the top countries in three international indexes, among the world’s eight top countries in two indexes and among the 20 top countries in two others. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic places it at the highest ranks on international indexes

Saudi Arabia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic places it at the highest ranks on international indexes
  • ADAA follows up on the Kingdom’s progress and performance through the International Performance Hub, which compares the Kingdom’s performance against 217 other countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has placed it at the highest ranks on several international indexes according to the National Center for Performance Measurement (ADAA) for the years 2020-2021.
According to ADAA, Saudi Arabia ranked among the top countries in three international indexes, among the world’s eight top countries in two indexes and among the 20 top countries in two others.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the Kingdom ranked first worldwide in the response of entrepreneurs and the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two indexes measured the levels of entrepreneurial motivation as Vision 2030 provided an ideal and flexible business environment able to withstand challenges such as the pandemic.

SPEEDREAD

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the Kingdom ranked first worldwide in the response of entrepreneurs and the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kingdom has maintained its advanced position in the “food standards” indicator, where it was ranked first in 2020. This indicator is considered one of the sub-components of the “food security” index, released annually by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to measure food security in countries based on four indicators: Food affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience.
“The pandemic has forced many in the food industry to rethink our strategies and elevate our standards, providing the best food quality and services for our customers,” Mohammed Saleh, a restaurant owner based in Riyadh and Jeddah, told Arab News. “Our customers always come first and the quality of food was always a top priority but now with the extra care and precautions, customer satisfaction and safety is even more important.”
“Many restaurant owners I know have put into consideration all the changes that needed to be made to ensure that both quality and safety go hand in hand,” Saleh added. “We’ll only go forward from here.”
During the peak of the pandemic, the Kingdom jumped to eighth position among 113 countries in “the national food supply sufficiency” indicator and came ahead of 105 countries in growth of production of cereals and vegetables, climbing nine spots in the indicator in comparison to 2019. In the post-harvest and pre-consumption crops’ safety indicator, the Kingdom made significant progress, ranked among the 20 top countries worldwide.
The Kingdom has also come a long way in most of the indicators of the soft power index, measured based on three key performance indicators (KPIs): Reputation, familiarity and influence, where it ranked 20th and came ahead of 85 countries in its response to the pandemic, according to the Brand Finance report.
ADAA follows up on the Kingdom’s progress and performance through the International Performance Hub, which compares the Kingdom’s performance against 217 other countries. ADAA monitors and follows up on international indicators while the hub provides an overview of the Kingdom’s performance in 700 KPIs under 12 main pillars.


Saudi aviation authority links boarding passes with health app

Saudi aviation authority links boarding passes with health app
The boarding passes are issued electronically to passengers whose status in the app is “immune,” “immune by first dose,” “immune by recovery” or “no record of infection”
Updated 21 June 2021

Saudi aviation authority links boarding passes with health app

Saudi aviation authority links boarding passes with health app
  • Tawakkalna was launched last year to help track COVID-19 infections

RIYADH: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has announced the completion of linking the issuance of boarding passes for domestic flights for all national airlines with the health status in the Tawakkalna app.
The boarding passes are issued electronically to passengers whose status in the app is “immune,” “immune by first dose,” “immune by recovery” or “no record of infection.”
The initiative is the result of cooperation with government agencies — namely the Presidency of State Security, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, and the Health Ministry — and with national airlines.
Tawakkalna was launched last year to help track COVID-19 infections. It has since been updated to include vaccination information and infection status reports. It also functions as a COVID-19 “passport.”
Earlier, GACA said that all foreign travelers and their companions traveling to the Kingdom must complete registration for their COVID-19 immunization data before departure. The registration is applicable to all citizens from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, holders of new visas, residents, and their companions, both inoculated and non-vaccinated.

 


Royal Saudi Land Forces continue ‘Falcon Claws 4’ exercise with US forces

Royal Saudi Land Forces continue ‘Falcon Claws 4’ exercise with US forces
Updated 21 June 2021

Royal Saudi Land Forces continue ‘Falcon Claws 4’ exercise with US forces

Royal Saudi Land Forces continue ‘Falcon Claws 4’ exercise with US forces
  • The exercise began last week in the Kingdom’s northwestern region

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Land Forces continued a joint exercise with counterparts from the US Forces, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.
The “Falcon Claws 4” exercise began last week in the Kingdom’s northwestern region.

“This exercise comes as an extension of the joint exercises between the two friendly countries, with the aim of training in command and control operations, indirect shooting training, offensive combat transport, explosives disposal, and improving the compatibility between the military equipment of the two sides,” the ministry said.