The Topic: Obesity

Photo: Joe 13 (BY-ND 2.0)

Obesity is an important public health concern globally and especially within the UAE. Studies conducted within the UAE have shown that the obesity rate is double the world’s average; one in three children are overweight or obese. While genetics can play a role in increasing the risk of obesity, other environmental factors also contribute towards the increase in obesity in the UAE. These factors include a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet, and a lack of knowledge about the dangers of obesity.

Beyond the consequences for the individual, which include increased risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, obesity adversely affects the national economy. The economic burden of obesity on hospitals and public health systems in the UAE alone has been estimated to 22 billion dirhams annually.

The growing obesity epidemic requires an urgent solution. While the UAE government has launched several campaigns to target this growing problem, more effective solution are required to combat the disease. Preventing and managing obesity requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses all the stakeholders involved. We hope that PHTT 2015 will enable teams to analyse the issue of obesity from different angles and produce potential solutions to this public health issue.