About 70 per cent of Saudis are obese or overweight, according to a report by the council’s health committee. Photo for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: About five years have passed since the Speaker of the Saudi Shura Council referred a draft law to combat obesity to the health committee, which supported the legislation that addresses and combats obesity, local media reported.

About 70 per cent of Saudis, especially children and youth who account for at least 50 per cent of the population, are obese or overweight, according to a report by the council’s health committee.

The committee said in its report, obtained by the Riyadh newspaper, more than three million children in the Kingdom are obese, and more than 36 per cent of the population suffer from the deadly obesity disease, which has led to many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, as well as excess cholesterol, gallstones, and diabetes, in addition to some types of cancers, infections, joint pain, respiratory diseases and mental illnesses.

Weight gain

It stressed the importance of creating a system concerned with combating weight gain, unifying existing efforts and coordinating between authorities to limit the prevalence of obesity among young people in particular and society in general.

“A law to combat obesity would reduce the budgets allocated to obesity surgeries, in which waste has reached about 80 per cent,” the committee said.

Saudi national strategy for diet and physical activity up to 2025 targets:

• Lowering rate of overweight and obesity to 40 per cent.

• Lowering rate of people of low physical activities to 20 per cent.

• Increasing rate of vegetable and fruit consumption (5 units/day) from 8.4 per cent to 20 per cent among males and from 4.5 per cent to 20 per cent among females.

• To stabilise prevalence rate of hyperlipidemia at 19.3 per cent.

• To stabilise prevalence rate of diabetes mellitus at 18 per cent.

Targeted population

• Individuals, families, schools and work places will be targeted with prioritisation of the following categories;

• Children, adolescents and females in child-bearing period.

• Health workers.

• Workers in food industry, and in Health Insurance.