Dubai: More than half of the Omani population are now overweight or obese with 30 per cent of them having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30, said Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Saidi, Minister of Health.
Oman is facing a spike in obesity cases. Official figures showed a rise in the prevalence of obesity in Oman since the last survey in 2008, especially among women, the minister added.
The minister’s remarks came on the occasion of launching Oman Obesity Briefing Book titled 'Obesity in Oman', which coincides with world celebrations of Obesity Day.
Al Saidi pointed out that there is an increasing recognition worldwide that obesity is not only a problem of individuals but is also society-wide.
He added, “The causes of obesity are complex but one of the key drivers is in the way we eat and how much we move, which is changing dramatically. As a result of changes in our environment, unhealthy processed food and the technology that promote sedentary lifestyles has become more readily available. Unfortunately, convenience has led us to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle, which in turn has led to obesity.
“Even though there is no simple or single solution to the obesity epidemic, if we are to fight this escalating crisis in our societies, a coordinated response that goes beyond the health sector is crucial. Only through the engagement in multi-sector dialogues and relentless commitment to work together on reducing the burden of obesity can we promote health and prevent disease.
“The importance of population-based changes in the socio-environmental variables that influence energy intake and expenditure cannot be stressed enough. Marketing restrictions, dietary guidelines, policies that focus on improving environments like schools and workplaces are only but some of the many interventions that should stop the drastic spreading of obesity,” Dr. Ahmed explained.