Luxurious lifestyles and a dependence on domestic help with daily tasks are contributing to an obesity crisis among young people in the UAE, doctors say.
Doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said choosing convenience over self-reliance is stopping people from an active lifestyle, reported The National. Many domestic chores could be a source of exercise but are often performed by outside help.
Dr Gurjyot Bajwa, consultant cardiac surgeon at the hospital, said, “Diabetes, morbid obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease [are] being seen in people who are on average of 10 to 20 years younger than those in Western populations. The lack of exercise, self-care or self-reliance is affecting their health.”
Dr Bajwa said doctors have reported an increase in young patients suffering from heart disease with children as young as 14 having it diagnosed.
The hospital commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 UAE residents as part of its World Heart Day Campaign. Up to 21% of the respondents reported being obese and 35% said they did not exercise enough. 18% of them said they would consider weight-loss surgery to improve their heart health.
Dr Bajwa said part of the problem was ensuring people knew what signs to look for.
UAE health officials have made efforts to encourage residents to visit general practitioners first instead of consultants or specialists.
Primary healthcare centres have been opened across the country to encourage regular visits but few patients go, which means diseases are often diagnosed late.