Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A heavy weight...

I had a lovely meeting this morning with Abdullah Al-Eisa, the CEO at LoFat.  I was asked to help work on improving their LoFat Juniors program.  Abdullah's vision is very much directed towards awareness and public education about the real dangers of obesity. In doing my pre-meeting research, I found a limited source of research studies, which is not surprisingly since research in general is very sparse in Kuwait.  There were, however, 2 studies in the past year about this topic. Both studies show the alarming increase of obesity in Kuwait.

LoFat's Head of Operations, Ms. Amal Lahalih was helpful is supplying me with these facts:

  • Forbes ranks Kuwait the 8th most obese country in the world with a 74.2% obesity rate.
  •  40% of Kuwaiti children are diagnosed with obesity
  •  According to Dr Wajdan Al Shamiri citing a report by the World Health Organization and quoted in the Arab Times, no country in the entire Middle East has a higher rate of obesity among children.
  •  Due to poor diet and the prevalence of obesity, 1 in 4 Kuwaitis suffer from diabetes
  • More than 15 percent of the adult population has diabetes and 22 out of 100 children under the age of 14 are diabetic
  • The cost to treat a person with complications that are caused by diabetes is high; the cost of diabetes has been calculated a few years ago to be nearly seven percent of the overall health expenditure in Europe.

Some helpful tips for parents:

  • For real and ongoing change in diet and lifestyle, children need to be in control and not feel forced.  Try to teach your child about healthy choices.
  • Choose activities for your child that s/he likes.  Do not force a diet and a physical regimen that has no chance of becoming part of their lifestyle.
  • Make changes uniform.  If possible, have the whole family participate in a healthier lifestyle.
  • Do not become an enabler.  Sometimes we feel guilty about "not giving our child what he wants".  Think of the bigger picture: Would you rather give your child temporary pleasure or a lifetime of health and happiness?
  • Changes need to be realistic.  A severe and restrictive diet might change your child's behavior to oppositional and aggressive.  Try to be flexible and understanding.
  • Praise and support your child's attempts, even if they are unsuccessful in the beginning.  They key here is for the child to be motivated and gain the will to try.

No comments:

Post a Comment