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37,000 visit Health Min’s obesity detection centers

Saudi Arabia, November 6, 2017

The Ministry of Health has established a number of early detection centers for obesity and weight gain in all regions of the Kingdom, Al-Watan newspaper reported.

The ministry said 36,731 patients, including men, women and children, visited these centers.

The ministry added that it organizes training courses to develop the skills of health practitioners in primary care centers in the field of prevention and treatment of obesity and the number of beneficiaries reached 4,165 health practitioners, including doctors and technicians.

According to the ministry, the rate of obesity among young Saudis, including men and women, has reached 28.7 percent and while the rate of overweight reached 30.7 percent.

The ministry said through its Department of Communication, Public Relations and Awareness, that field visits were carried out in a number of areas and cities, including Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, Eastern Province, Jouf and Najran. The visits were educational and aimed to raise the awareness of people on the need to fight obesity.

In addition, awareness material, including 300,000 brochures and video films, was printed and distributed among young people in all regions of the Kingdom.

On the issue of child obesity, the ministry said overweight problems and obesity are caused by an abnormal accumulation of body fat to life-threatening levels. It said the main reason for obesity was an imbalance between the calorie intake by the body and the calories burned.

The ministry noted that childhood obesity usually persists into adulthood and is accompanied by health risks and many chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, blood pressure, arthritis and others.

Most global studies agree that child obesity has its psychological costs, in addition to direct medical costs, which includes prescription drugs, inpatient and outpatient care and surgical treatment.

The latest statistics indicate that 9.3 percent of school age children and 6 percent of pre-school age children in Saudi Arabia are obese.

Dr. Ali Saffan Al-Zahrani, a consultant psychologist, said children are among the most vulnerable segments of population because they are the main consumers of junk food and the target of fast food restaurants.

He said the concerned authorities should implement regulations to protect children from unhealthy food habits.