– SAUDI ARABIA
Obesity is a disease
people may be under the impression that obesity is simply a shape-up or
appearance issue. This is not true! Obesity is regarded as one of
today’s most common diseases. Data gathered from around the world
shows a rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity in the past 10-15
years. Obesity tends to be more common in highly industrialized
(developed) countries and upper-class societies where there is a
sedentary lifestyle with minimal dependence on exercise.
A typical example could be Saudi society.
alarming statistics quoted in leading publications stated that about 66
percent of Saudi women are overweight. Approximately 52 percent of the
adult population in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is obese while among
adolescents it is 18 percent. Over 15 percent of pre – schools are
also victims of Obesity. These figures reflect the seriousness of the
disease especially that obesity can lead to a variety of diseases such
as diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, hypertension, cancer and high
How is obesity measured?
1. Body Mass Index (BMI)
most widely used measure of obesity has been the Body Mass Index (BMI).
It is calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the
height in meters. For example, if the weight of a person is 70kg and his
height is 174cm (1.74m), the BMI of that person would be:
THREATENS THE SAUDI COMMUNITY
these BMI measures, national and international health authorities have
determined cut-off points to classify normal, overweight, and obese
individuals. BMI’s are categorized in the following way:
18.5 – 24.9
25.0 – 29.9
30.0 – 39.9
are certain limitations to the use of BMI, including:
- Children (who are still growing)
- Pregnant women
- Very muscular individuals, such as
2. Tape Measure
measure is a simple way to follow-up on weight control (measuring the
circumference of the waist). The fat contained around the waist is more
critical than the fat found in the hips or any other part of the body.
As the reading on the tape decreases, this reflects a drop in the amount
of fat around the waist. The following table provides a good guide:
Extremely high risk
More than 94 cm
More than 102 cm
More than 80 cm
More than 88 cm
of weight reduction
reduction – even by 5-10 % of overall weight - can be beneficial in
many ways such as:
Reduction in risk
factors of overweight or obesity-related diseases and symptoms.
reduction - ideal for patients suffering from hypertension.
Reduction of Glucose
levels which is good for Diabetics.
Cholesterol and fat levels, which helps patients suffering from
cholesterol disturbances, arterial clots and myocardial infarction.
look and morale.
potential early deaths due to obesity-related diseases.
to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity has become a worldwide
disease that can lead to a variety of diseases such as diabetes,
cardio-vascular diseases, hypertension and high blood cholesterol.
There can be little doubt that highly developed countries, such
as the United States of America, are in the midst of an obesity
epidemic. An epidemic may be defined as a period of increased prevalence
of a particular disease in a population. Having said that, the figures
revealed so far in a number of studies done on a slice of the Saudi
population portray a grim picture too! However, there are ways to
prevent and control obesity (to be covered in a later article) and the
major benefit of that may be measured not just in terms of years of life
gained, but also in a better quality of life. Having said this, people
suffering from obesity or overweight are advised to consult a doctor.
on behalf of Roche by Gulf Hill and Knowlton, Jeddah. For more
information, please contact Talal Eid at tel: 673 8888 Ext.221; fax: 676
0597; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org