Muscat – Close to 66% of adults in the sultanate are overweight or obese, the Ministry of Health (MoH) stated on Tuesday.

This was revealed at a workshop titled ‘The Plan to Accelerate Obesity Prevention in the Sultanate of Oman’ organised by MoH in collaboration with World Health Organization.

Held under the patronage of H E Dr Ahmed Salim Saif al Mandhari, Undersecretary for Planning in MoH, the workshop saw participation of experts from Oman and international organisations with the objective of devising a comprehensive strategy to combat obesity. It aimed to offer insights into the sultanate’s ongoing obesity crisis, assess existing programmes, identify best practices, and ultimately develop an expedited plan to curb obesity in Oman.

Salima Ali al Maamari, Director of MoH’s Nutrition Department, highlighted the fact that over 1bn people worldwide, including children and teenagers, are grappling with obesity. “The surge in obesity rates in recent decades signifies an imminent health crisis, burdening individuals, society and the healthcare sector.” She cited alarming statistics from Oman’s latest national survey of non-communicable diseases, including a staggering 66% of adults being overweight or obese. “This means, of every ten individuals, only three maintain a healthy weight.”

Salima informed that obesity is not merely a matter of exceeding an ideal weight by a few kilograms; it is a precursor to numerous other health conditions. “It’s implicated in over 220 diseases affecting adults and now affects even the youngest members of society. No one is spared.”

She stressed the importance of collective action to combat the perils of obesity. “Developing a robust, actionable national strategy for reducing obesity rates is paramount.”

The workshop addressed critical topics, including the global obesity epidemic, international recommendations to reduce prevalence, the situation in Oman, and the proactive efforts of MoH towards this end.  These efforts include establishment of comprehensive nutrition clinics, formulation of the National Nutrition Strategy 2020-2030, implementation of the 2021 National Campaign, revision of the Omani Food Guide, banning products containing trans fats, and several educational activities.

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