Canadian Specialist Hospital CSH, one of the largest private hospitals in Dubai catering to the tertiary healthcare needs of the Middle East, has recently launched a campaign to tackle the issue of child obesity, aptly called ‘ACT NOW’, by promoting lifestyle changes that can address the root cause of the issue. A unique interaction held today with Active Sports Academy Dubai, a Premium Sports Coaching & Children’s Activity Camps provider throughout Dubai, saw the CSH team providing early educational solutions designed to positively impact children’s health at one of the venues, Wafi Pharoahs’ Club where they hold their programs.
The effort, the first of a series of initiatives under the ACT NOW campaign, was held with the aim of reducing the burden of chronic disease and other illnesses caused or compounded by childhood obesity. And with recent reports putting the UAE as the fifth most obese country in the world, CSH is getting together with different influence groups of the community to take matters into their own hands in the fight against this epidemic. Parents and children from Active Sports Academy Dubai experienced an unusual day at their Summer Camp as CSH shared with them prevention, causes, solutions and the health risks associated with being overweight or obese.
Dr Hayder Al Zubaidy, CEO of Canadian Specialist Hospital said, “The Ministry of Health has highlighted that children in the UAE are less physically active today, which will make a large section of the population obese by the year 2015. We also get an alarming number of obese patients at our hospital, and this is a matter of high concern for us as a hospital. Although the authorities are pushing for improved awareness, there is a need for the private sector to increase its involvement in order for the message to hit home. We need to respond to this as a society, and through our combined efforts, we hope to contribute to a healthier future by focusing on the young ones. Proper awareness and education on lifestyle implications on health and obesity at a young age can make a significant impact and addresses the core issue.”
Dr. Liza Thomas, Specialist Internal Medicine from CSH was also present at the event and said: “Parents do not realize the long term effect of the family’s lifestyle on children. UAE is synonymous with a fast-food led diet, less physical exercise and hours of playing games on gadgets for children. A healthier, more active lifestyle needs to be encouraged at all levels, which can go a long way to prevent serious chronic illnesses during adulthood.”
“When a child is overweight or obese, he also goes through bullying in the peer group, which results in low self-esteem and hinders his overall development. Often obesity can be brought under control quicker the sooner the person seeks a change,” she added.
Louise Valk at Active Sports Academy Dubai said, “The Active Sports Academy team works under the core ideal that sport should be fun and enjoyable for every child. Our team is motivated to create a fun and productive environment to nurture sporting talent as well as help children enjoy being active. We are pleased to have Canadian Specialist Hospital help us drive the importance of an active lifestyle.”
One of the parents who attended the instructive session said: “As a parent, it is often a conflicting situation to form the right habits in a child, while giving them space to make their own choices. Today’s session has helped me with some solutions on how to strike the right balance between the two. While it is alright to let a child indulge in their occasional burger and a few hours of gaming on the computer, it is more important for them to know the consequences of these actions and why it is that they need to limit them. If given alternative suggestions, kids will learn that these can be equally enjoyable experiences once they give it a chance. More importantly, setting the right example as a parent by practicing what we preach is the biggest motivational influence.”