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50% Saudi children are obese

Khalid bin Mohsen Shaari weighs 1,345 pounds (610kg) and is unable to move by himself.

Source : Arab News / 22 Apr 2014

A new study has revealed that 50 percent of Saudi children suffer from obesity. Tests conducted on 280 children at the Children and Maternity Hospital in Dammam showed that 20 percent of Saudi children suffer from extreme obesity while 30 percent undergo a weight increase. The other 50 percent of children tested didn’t gain any weight throughout the period of the study.

The data were released at an awareness activity in the hospital entitled, “Fighting Obesity.” Medical director, Dr. Mousaed Assiri, said such activities are aimed at increasing the awareness of obesity and its consequences. “Obesity is a life-threatening health issue that tops all other health problems,” he said. “It not only increases the fatality percentages but also has emotional and physiological effects,” Assiri added.

Dr. Ayisha Al-Shahri, head of the Health Education department at the hospital, said that 72.4 percent of Saudis above 40 suffer from obesity. Obesity rates in the Kingdom currently stand at 35.6 percent, with women at 44 percent, men at 26.4 and children at 18 percent. “Obesity is a threat to general health,” Al-Shahri said adding that by highlighting this issue, people can discover obesity earlier and make lifestyle changes such as “limiting the hours they spend watching TV, playing video games and surfing the Web,” she said.

Al-Shahri advised people to exercise and decrease sugar and fat intake by avoiding fast food. She emphasized the need to eat healthy meals rich in nutrients such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. “Learning about the metabolic processes helps people understand their bodies and take care of their food regimens,” she explained.

The awareness activity included a video on obesity and the importance of sports and healthy practices for patients, visitors and their families.


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