Regional health conference recommends WHO’s policies to reduce obesity

SHARJAH, The My Health 7th Regional Conference, which was organised by the Health Promotion Department at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, concluded its activities on Wednesday, with a recommendation to implement the World Health Organisation, WHO, policies and guidelines to reduce obesity in member countries.

The conference, which was held over a period of three days under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, called for reviewing and developing national plans to reduce obesity in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region.

The event, which focussed on the theme of nutrition as a key factor in preventing chronic diseases and was held under the theme of “Talk, Listen, Change,” stressed the importance of implementing the new strategies of the WHO that focus on food classification and the marketing of unhealthy foods in the countries of the region.

The My Health conference, which was organised by the Health Promotion Department, in cooperation with the WHO and the Ministry of Health and Prevention, with a strategic partnership with both the University of Sharjah, UoS, and the Arab German Young Academy of sciences and humanities (AGYA), called for developing existing regional plans related to reducing obesity.

On the last day of the conference, the Health Promotion Department honoured its strategic partners and a number of bodies and personalities that collaborated and contributed to the organisation and success of the event. The department also honoured the UoS, the WHO, and AGYA, as well as Dr Amal Aljawder, the moderator of the conference, and the members of the scientific committee, in addition to the speakers, and the sponsors.

Iman Rashid Saif, Director of the Health Promotion Department, expressed her thanks and gratitude to Sheikha Jawaher for her patronage to the conference, and for her unlimited support to the department, as well as her directives to it that serve as a guide.

The last day of the conference began with a Youth Plenary Session entitled “Bright Future,” which included the participation of Mira Al Hammadi, Olla Saleh, Sarah Al Mazmi, Maitha Al Hammadi, and Noorah Salah, along with the moderator, Dr. Aljawder, a family physician from Bahrain, in addition to the presence of Essam Ali, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF, and a number of experts and specialists.

The session raised some important discussions, such as the opinion of youths on fast food and the reasons for its demand, where they narrowed the reasons down to the speed of preparation and the ease of access due to its wide availability, in comparison to the limited number of restaurants that serve healthy meals at high prices.

Ahmed Salem Al Mutawa reviewed his own experience in the National Service, which helped him change his lifestyle and adopt a healthy diet. Other youths also spoke of their experiences in giving up soft drinks and replacing them with natural juices. The session recommended highlighting models that have succeeded in changing unhealthy lifestyles and encouraging the adoption of both a healthy lifestyle and a nutritional diet at the home, school, university, and in public places.

The 7th edition of the conference witnessed the participation of more than 32 experts and representatives from various countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, as well as 20 specialists and officials from the health sectors in the UAE, and 25 spokespersons that presented educational sessions. The conference also witnessed the attendance of around 2,000 people over its two days.

Source: Emirates News Agency