Stepping Up to the Obesity Challenge

Stepping Up to the Obesity Challenge

September 04, 2012 at 11:09am

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity has more than doubled since 1980. Around the world, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, are overweight or obese, and at least 2.8 million of them die each year as a result of their weight.

Here in the Middle East and North Africa region, nearly one in five adults is obese, and more than half of all women are overweight or obese. This growing problem has emerged as one of the biggest challenges facing individuals, families and communities across the world – and especially across our region.

On a country level, the magnitude of the challenge is even more clear. In Saudi Arabia, more than two-thirds of men and women 25-64 years old are overweight or obese; in Egypt, more than 60% of men and three-quarters of all women 25-59 are overweight or obese; in Kuwait, three-quarters of men and women 20-64 are overweight or obese; in Morocco, more than 40% of women 25-49 are overweight or obese.

WHO points out that the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes increases steadily the more overweight you are, as does the risk of certain cancers, such as breast, colon, prostate, kidney and gall bladder.

However, there is plenty of room for hope, since being overweight and obese, along with the non-communicable diseases they can cause, are largely preventable. Individuals can quickly make a change by making healthier eating choices and becoming more active through exercise and other changes to daily routines.

Driven by concern over rising levels of obesity and other non-communicable diseases in the region, WHO and the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health are organizing the International Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-Communicable Diseases in the Arab World and Middle East. GE is a strategic partner to the conference, which will be held in Riyadh beginning September 10. The three-day event seeks to raise awareness of the dangers and costs to governments and society from rising levels of non-communicable diseases. It also hopes to encourage governments to take concrete action to develop prevention and control programs to counter these diseases.

At the conference, GE will exhibit some of its products that help individuals and doctors identify, monitor and treat non-communicable diseases, while its executives will share expertise as panel speakers. Several GE public service announcement videos offering advice on healthy eating and exercise will show across the conference venue. Click here for more information on the conference.

We are all fighting obesity on many levels, and you can take your first step to tackle obesity by clicking here.

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