Abu Dhabi: In efforts to control obesity and diabetes among children, one of the UAE's leading federal hospitals is set to open a diabetes clinic dedicated to children under 14 years of age.
With childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions — affecting up to 26 per cent of children in the UAE — due to lack of exercise and over-dependence on fast food, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report suggests that Type 2 diabetes will be seen routinely among children in the UAE.
In response to the findings, Al Ain Hospital, managed by the Vienna Medical University (Vamed) since June 2007, under the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), has decided to offer free diabetes screenings to over 3,000 students aged eight to 14 in association with the World Diabetes Day on November 14.
Besides the basic general paediatric clinics, the hospital will officially open new clinics for diabetes, obesity, asthma, a baby clinic, and treatment of enuresis, for children under 14.
"We so far see children under 14 but would like to raise the age gap to 18 as per WHO recommendations. We have introduced all these children clinics to help keep up with our outpatient clinic which receives up to 24 children daily, and inpatient clinic usually receives over 30 children," said Professor Andreas Boeck, Chairman, Child Health Institute at Al Ain Hospital, and Clinical Associate Professor at UAE University.
The Child Health Institute mostly receives common medical conditions such as: respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity, blood disease, accidents and congenital anomalies.
According to WHO estimates, the prevalence of obesity among females in the UAE by 2015 is expected to reach 44.6 per cent.
Since joining the hospital in 2009, Professor Andreas Boeck, Chairman, Child Health Institute at Al Ain Hospital, and Clinical Associate Professor at UAE University, has tried to turn the child health institute into a body which moves towards tertiary service.
His role as chairman mainly involves motivating and guiding the health care staff to update their knowledge and awareness of and need for, evidence based medicine in paediatrics.