WHO calls for adopting advanced healthy food policies

SHARJAH, The World Health Organisation called on the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region to adopt more advanced healthy food policies, and stressed the importance of promoting nutrition as it is considered a key factor in achieving the sustainable development goals of this region of the world.

Launched on Monday in Sharjah amidst a large local and global presence, the World Health Organisation’s Regional Meeting comes as part of the activities of the first day of the ‘My Health 7th Regional Conference’, which is being organised by the Health Promotion Department at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah. The three-day conference will be held at the University of Sharjah, under the theme of “Talk, Listen, Change” and will highlight nutrition as a key factor in preventing chronic diseases among the youth demographic.

The WHO urged the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region to actively coordinate among themselves to implement the “United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition” program, and to identify the best solutions and practices to address the problem of obesity.

The WHO Regional Meeting included the signing of the “Sharjah Declaration Against Obesity.” The Director of the Health Promotion Department, in cooperation with the WHO, announced the declaration, while the participating bodies in the meeting pledged to work on implementing this declaration by doubling efforts to combat obesity in the Eastern Mediterranean region, as well as raise awareness on the dangers of this issue while also focusing on the segment of children and youth.

The meeting, which was co-organised by the WHO and the Health Promotion Department at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, was attended by senior officials from WHO and the UAE, as well as a number of officials and a large number of representatives of both public and private health authorities from the UAE and various countries in the region, with the participation of more than 32 experts and representatives from various countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO/EMRO), stated that the meeting is being held with the aim of sharing policies, programmes and plans that help address the problem of obesity. He praised the efforts of the Emirate of Sharjah in promoting health awareness and combatting the spread of noncommunicable diseases. He also commended Sharjah’s initiative to organize the My Health regional conference, which focuses on ways to combat obesity among both children and youth.

Iman Rashid Saif, Director of the Health Promotion Department at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, stressed Sharjah’s total support and commitment to the decisions of the WHO’s Regional Meeting. She stated that the support for the meeting comes as part of the emirate’s keenness to seek the best ways to combat the issue of obesity, which is in accordance to the vision and the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah; and H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, to make the emirate of Sharjah a beacon that guides other nations in their journey towards finding solutions to the health challenges that they face.

She stated that the UAE has been working for years to face this issue which threatens the future of its children, as part of a comprehensive national framework and as part of the national agenda of the UAE vision 2021 to reduce the rates of obesity among children that are between the ages of 5-17 years old, in order to build a healthy generation and society. She added that the Health Promotion Department operates under the vision of the wise leadership in Sharjah, and in cooperation with its strategic partners, to achieve the UAE Centennial 2071 plan, which helps to protect the present and future of both children and youth.

Source: Emirates News Agency