Modern research has proven time and again the links between healthy breakfast consumption and lowered risks of chronic diseases, increased longevity and better health. Yet, in an independent healthy eating and fitness study conducted in the UAE amongst 300 residents, almost 20 percent said that they do not eat breakfast at all, of which 27 percent were Emiratis, followed by Arab expatriates at 26 percent. Lack of time was cited as the main reason.
The study was conducted by Zarca Interactive, a US-based company with over seven years of established expertise in online survey solutions in the UAE. Of the respondents, almost 49 percent were of various Arab nationalities, 23 percent of which were Emiratis. Indians constituted a quarter of the respondents in the nationwide study. The split between male and female respondents was 70 and 30 percent respectively.
According to the Zarca Interactive study, almost 50 percent of Emirati respondents, 33 percent of Arab expatriates and 24 percent of Asian expatriates consume less than one large bottle of water per day. Over a quarter of respondents, 30 percent of which were males, do not supplement their diet with vitamins. The core reason cited was that vitamins were expensive and a waste of money. Despite these statistics, awareness of what constitutes healthy eating was high, especially amongst those aged between 16 and 24. Majority of respondents described a balanced mixture of foods as the ideal diet, and only less than five percent said they did not know what a healthy diet should comprise.
The study corroborates the recent spate of reports by the World Health Organisation on the region’s state of health, particularly in relation to the rise in chronic diseases resulting from nutritional disorders and lack of physical activity. Whilst a third exercised at least three times per week, the main form of exercise being walking, alarmingly one in five respondents do not exercise at all. In addition, over 50 percent, majority of who were Asians chose electronic gadgets as their preferred means of relieving stress instead of physical activity. Consuming unhealthy foods such as chocolates, ice creams and snacks in times of stress was high at 16.3 percent. Of these respondents, majority were Emirati.
The independent study by Zarca Interactive is the first in a series of quarterly studies across six GCC countries. A comparative study of findings across all countries will be released in the first quarter of 2010 and reports will be made available to companies and organizations who want to access them.
“The comparative study across the GCC countries will allow us to identify trends and patterns that are unique to each country. This in turn will enable us to tailor more in depth and country specific surveys with a much larger sample size in the following quarter, which health authorities, NGOs and commercial organizations can access”, said Javed Farooqui, Executive Director and Head Middle East and Africa.
“As leaders in the field of online feedback management and survey solutions, Zarca Interactive offers our expertise to organizations that need to outsource this function in a cost effective manner yet obtain results in real time”, added Farooqui.
Zarca Interactive offers a flexible, highly user-friendly and feature-rich solution which can handle multiple languages, provide anonymity to respondents where needed and allow multiple user/role based access. The patented survey platform also allows the user to import data from scanned paper-based surveys so that reports can be generated on one platform.
The US-based outfit is the pioneer in online feedback management in the UAE. Zarca Interactive first came into the scene to bridge the gap that existed between small boutique research agencies and the bigger industry players. Through its innovative approach to feedback management and its patented technology platform, the company has since established a position of thought-leadership in the areas of data-driven decision-making in a very short period of time. Today, in addition to Dubai Quality Group, Zarca Interactive has a vast portfolio of over 75 clients in the government and private sectors, including Ministry of Social Affairs, Dubai Customs, Dubai Ports Authority, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Real Estate Corporation, ADCB, Emirates NBD and NBAD.
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