Obesity is threatening the lives of nearly three million children in Saudi Arabia due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercises, according to a local study.
The problem is also killing at least 20,000 people in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom every year although the government spends more than SR19 billion (Dh19bn) on treatment for obesity, reveals the study released by King Saud University in Riyadh.
“The study describes obesity in Saudi Arabia as not just a disease but the epidemic of the age,” ‘Ajel’ Arabic language daily said.
It said the study blamed bad eating habits, lack of exercises and misconceptions about shopping and social habits by a large number of people in the largest Arab economy.
“People generally do not know that one beverage can will increase a person’s weight by five kg as it includes 360 calories. At the same time, a person needs to keep moving for nearly 70 minutes to burn 400 calories. This shows that people should be more careful when taking such beverages or unhealthy meals,” it said.
It quoted the study as saying that obesity is a general problem in the Arab region because of the following habits:
* Considering eating as a means of recreation and eating out will make the family happier.
* Growing reliance on housemaids in domestic work.
* Lack of exercise and depending on idle electronic games.
* Sitting for long periods of times to watch TV.
* Eating is a priority.
* The wrong belief that a man should put on weight when he marries otherwise others will think he is not happy in his marital life.
* Negative effects of advertisements that promote unhealthy food.
* Obsession with shopping and market offers.
* Failure to give attention to the quality and quantity of food eaten.