Wealthy but not healthy: Survey reveals there is still room for improvement in Bahrainis' lifestyle
In with the green! Forget about hommous and knafeh, Bahrain needs to eat, sleep and drive better.
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A health survey in Bahrain has found that only half of those questioned (52 per cent) eat the recommended three meals a day, while one in five Bahrainis never do exercise.
It also found that 39per cent of all nationalities do not take medication prescribed by a doctor, while 50 per cent did not know how to measure their body mass index.
Almost half of those questioned (42 per cent) said they never get eight hours sleep, except on weekends, while more than two thirds (66 per cent) drank less than one 1.5 litres of water a day - despite the hot climate.
The results were collated in a Health and Fitness Trends study by US-based Zarca Interactive, which was carried out online and covered 300 Bahraini, Asian, Arab and Western residents aged more than 25.
Sixty-three per cent of respondents were Bahraini, while three quarters of them were men.
Results of the study were revealed yesterday during a Press conference at the Al Jawhara Centre for Molecular Medicine, in Salmaniya.
"Bahrain became the first country in the GCC last year to launch an electronic health survey by partnering with us," said Zarca Interactive executive director and Middle East and Africa head Javed Farooqui.
"Our partnership empowers the Health Ministry in Bahrain to reach the masses to collect their feedback using new technology like social media and microblogging sites Twitter and Facebook."
Positive results included 71per cent of respondents saying they ate breakfast every day, while none said they ate fried foods daily and less than half (45 per cent) consumed chocolate, sweets and sugar every day to three times a week.
Two thirds (66 per cent )of Bahrainis said that they eat low fat dairy products.
Meanwhile, 33 per cent said they watched TV when they felt stressed, while 11per cent smoked and 16 per cent played sport.
"There is some ray of hope with the result of this survey, which will no doubt help us in evaluating and determining the impact of health promotion plans and programmes," said director of the Health Promotion Directorate Dr Amal Al Jowder.
"They will also help in further developing the future policies for health promotion in Bahrain, which we want to bring to wider communities to guarantee quality of life."
The Health Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with Zarca Interactive last year to evaluate behaviour and lifestyle, as well as train ministry staff on electronic research. Plans are underway to develop a GCC-wide health and fitness awareness index on prevailing concerns across the region.
This latest survey also looked at people's behaviour while driving in Bahrain and found that 80 per cent of respondents said they always used safety belts, while 16 per cent never used safety belts or only did sometimes.
"One out of 10 said they always or often send SMS or chat while driving," reads the survey report.
"More than half of participants (54 per cent ) said they use their mobiles without headset sometimes while driving, while 16pc said they always use their mobiles without a headset while driving."
Meanwhile, one third of Bahrainis (34 per cent) said they visited a family doctor or a general doctor for routine medical check-ups annually, while all Western residents asked did so annually.
Most (89 per cent) never practised yoga or meditation; 67 per cent said walking was their preferred exercise; 15 per cent said they smoked less than a packet of cigarettes a day and 65 per cent were non-smokers; 52 per cent of Bahrainis consumed fish; and seven out of 10 say they often eat skinless chicken.
"Adoption of healthy lifestyles by people remains the greatest challenge faced by the Health Ministry, not only in the kingdom of Bahrain, but throughout the health systems in the world," said Dr Al Jowder.