|19 February, 2019

Don't wait to lose weight in UAE, seek help

Expert shares facts and figures that can help you confront your waistline problem.


A healthy you means a healthy society. Khaleej Times' latest campaign under the 'KT For Good' umbrella highlights common lifestyle diseases. In Part 11 of our series, an expert shares the facts and figures that can help you confront your waistline problem

In case you have crossed the point of no return in obesity, do not hide behind curtains but seek help, an expert said.

Dr Girish Juneja, director of the bariatric centre and specialist bariatric surgeon at Al Zahra Hospital in Dubai, said every person has got a hand in their own lifestyle.

"If you do not follow a healthy lifestyle, you will become obese and that leads to many other problems, such as diabetes, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) in women, infertility, knee and joint problems, and hypertension," he said.

"Choose a healthy diet that suits not restrict it. Today, there are many options available."

Dr Girish also said exercising five days a week can keep obesity at bay.

"If you choose to walk, do it for 30 to 40 minutes a day, five days a week," he said.

And if this fitness activity is combined with good eating habits and the determination to stick to the routine against all odds - the best results can be expected, the doctor added.

Indicators for a healthy weight are measured by body mass index (BMI), which ranges from between 8.5 to 25.

"Medically speaking, even if the BMI is 24, it is considered to be on the healthy side, so there is no need to panic," said Dr Girish.

However, if it goes beyond 30, obesity is declared. A mark of 35 would mean 'morbid obesity'.

"Once this stage is reached, obesity starts affecting all body organs.It causes inflammation, diabetes, cholesterol, and the damage is done over the years," he said.

A BMI of 30 should instantly alert people, Dr Girish said. "Prevent it from going towards morbid obesity and seek medical help."

He cautioned that morbid obesity can no longer be reversed with diet and exercise.

"At this point, non-surgical methods, such as gastric balloons, would be recommended to help patients lose up to 10-15kg," he said.

"Take help and do not be ashamed of going to a doctor," added Dr Girish

47.5 per cent of UAE residents are overweight

Studies show that 47.5 per cent of UAE residents are overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30, while another 13 per cent are obese, with a BMI of over 30. Since the average BMI in the UAE is 25.6, the average UAE resident is considered overweight.

Obesity in the UAE does not end in adults. Forty per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds and 20 per cent of children under the age of 11 are obese. Rates of obesity are higher in expatriates than in Emiratis.

10 health conditions linked to obesity

Heart disease


High blood pressure


Some cancers

Gall bladder disease and gallstones



Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea


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