A plan to implement newly established recommendations for treating and managing obesity across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Lebanon moved closer to fruition last night as representatives from the World Obesity Federation and Mubadala Health partners and other key players met with UAE health authorities to hammer out the finer details.
The “Regional Recommendations for the Treatment and Management of Adult Obesity in the Gulf and Lebanon” report is the culmination of work undertaken by the World Obesity Federation and experts from across the region that began in 2019. The principles were agreed at a meeting held in Muscat, Oman, in December 2019, after which the report was finalized and launched virtually in October 2020 during the second UAE Obesity Conference based in Abu Dhabi.
The recommendations were facilitated by the World Obesity Federation with input from HE Dr Omniyat AlHajeri, Executive Director of Community Health in Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, and the Gulf and Lebanon Recommendations Expert Group, which includes three physicians from Mubadala Health partners, namely Dr Sara Suliman from Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), Dr Mohammed Haddad from Healthpoint and Dr Wael Al Mahmeed from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, co-representing the UAE.
John Wilding, President of the World Obesity Federation said of the meeting: “I am delighted by the progress we have seen in the Gulf with regards to identifying and improving access to treatments and services following the release of the Regional Recommendations we published with regional experts last year. To do this during a pandemic is nothing short of remarkable and is all the more important because of the increased impact we have witnessed for those living with this disease.”
On the occasion, HE Dr Omniyat AlHajeri, Executive Director of Community Health in Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre said: “Obesity is one of the toughest challenges that we have to face so far, it’s a risk factor that predisposes people to chronic diseases. At Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, we work to change the challenges to opportunities and reduce obesity and overweight rates, with clear plans and strategies. In 2020 the center signed an MOU with the World Obesity Federation in order to support research on obesity prevention, raise community awareness and cooperate in the development of educational programs, practical training and related conferences, hence the contribution in this conference came as an important step towards combating obesity”.
Her Excellency added: “The conference, lays a ground for specialists to discuss solutions that can serve its objectives, develop new patient centered management plans for obesity and raise awareness about it, as well as provide healthcare professionals with the latest related scientific updates in the treatment of patients and the management of related complications.”
ICLDC’s Dr Suliman added: “With obesity being the largest threat to the health of most nations, we are pleased to have played a part in raising awareness about obesity as a disease rather than a lifestyle choice; and to encourage identification of obesity in all health care facilities to enable early intervention.
Last night’s meeting took place against the backdrop of the third UAE Obesity Conference, and involved establishing a country-specific implementation plan to take the recommendations in the published report forward.