JEDDAH: March 4 is annual International Obesity Day, during which the international community strives to raise awareness of, and establish programs to prevent, obesity, including the promotion of healthy dietary patterns and regular exercise.
Adults with a body mass index of more than 30 are generally classified as obese. Obesity’s main causes are unhealthy eating habits and a lack of regular physical activity. It is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world, reportedly affecting more than 2 billion people.
For this year’s International Obesity Day, the theme of which is “Changing Perspectives: Let's Talk About Obesity,” the Saudi Ministry of Health has launched programs including meals that use high-quality ingredients and following up with patients on a regular basis to help them improve their quality of life by changing their lifestyle.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that the ministry’s goal is “to reduce the prevalence of obesity, promote balanced nutritional behaviors and increase physical activity, in addition to providing preventive and curative services for obese citizens.” The ministry is also working with health and sports authorities to raise awareness of the importance of nutritional balance and maintaining a healthy weight.
Rheumatologist Dr. Dhiya Houssien told SPA that obesity increases the risk of arthritis, and that physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of becoming obese.
He stressed the importance of raising public awareness of the causes and risks of obesity, ways to prevent it, and of encouraging early detection.
Houssien also noted that individuals become obese due to an imbalance between the calories they consume and those they burn.
He said that obesity is a serious disease, as it can increase the likelihood of contracting a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, liver and kidney problems, back and joint pain, as well as shortness of breath and difficulty sleeping, in addition to psychological issues.