Obesity is a major cause of NCDs (Non Communicable Diseases) which account for 76% of all deaths in the UAE Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Zulekha Hospital has announced the results of its ‘Lose More Win More’ campaign, an employee weight-loss programme to raise awareness on the importance of combating obesity in UAE.

The campaign involved an employee challenge to lose weight, with monetary prizes as an incentive. The programme was aimed at fighting obesity, in line with the UAE’s National Agenda, which includes 10 specific health goals to be achieved by 2021, five of which are related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs): tackling CVDs (cardiovascular diseases), diabetes, cancer, obesity and smoking.

According to WHO (World Health Organisation), obesity is a major cause of NCDs, which account for 76 per cent of all deaths in the UAE or 11,600 people every year.

Taher Shams, managing director of Zulekha Healthcare Group, said: “Tackling obesity as a major cause for common diseases was the main purpose of the campaign which caters not only to spread a healthy lifestyle across Zulekha Hospital employees, but also to the wider UAE community. We’ve witnessed an exciting journey by those who challenged themselves to lose weight and gain self-confidence in the process, achieve better health, as well as receiving motivational prizes.”

The campaign comprised four rounds, periodic monitoring for participants and nutritionist advisory visits.

Pratheesh Raj, staff nurse at Zulekha Hospital Sharjah, who is the winner of the first prize, said: “When I took up the challenge, it seemed impossible and difficult to stick to the action plan to achieve my weight-loss goal. After I lost two to three kilos, I was more confident that I was able do it. I was motivated to continue my healthy diet and other healthy practices that led to the loss of 16kg eventually. I realised I was more energetic and that in itself is a wonderful feeling. Many of my colleagues were motivated to adopt some of my new healthy practices after seeing my results, and it made a positive difference to the team as a whole.”

Jane Frances Chidamba, the winner of the second prize from the Nursing Team in Zulekha Hospital Sharjah, lost over 15.5kg during a six-month period.

Nafeesa Ahmad, director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Management in Zulekha Hospital, said: “Most participants lost over 10kg in the campaign period and it is heartening to see their enthusiasm during their weight-loss journey. We are keen to launch this campaign year on year and encourage a culture of health consciousness within the organisation. Diet plays a very significant role in shaping one’s identity. We all must be extra cautious of what foods we intake.”