The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Shamila Jamaluddin, Staff Reporter
A metabolic and obesity physician in the capital explained recently the common bad habits to avoid during the fasting month. “Swap high-calorie meals with healthier home-made ones and cut down on carbohydrates. If you are medically fit, try moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking, jogging or gym for at least 150 minutes per week,” advised Healthpoint’s Head of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, Abu Dhabi, Dr Mohammed Al Hadad.
He explains that while people expect to lose weight during Ramadan, often the opposite is true.
“They tend to be less active, overeat after breaking their fast, and choose rich, high-calorie foods, instead it’s better people prepare their own Iftar and suhoor meals at home,” suggested the consultant bariatric surgeon.
“It is possible to maintain or even lose weight during Ramadan by following a careful strategy and avoiding common pitfalls,” he added.
Some of his tips to avoid overeating are: Stay well hydrated (drink between 1 – 1.5 litres of water between Iftar and suhoor) to avoid headaches and lethargy, Eat a well-balanced suhoor, for example, an egg, low-salt cheese or any other protein sandwich with fruits and water, Break your fast with dates and water, or low-fat yoghurt, and wait for 10 – 15 minutes before your main meal, to give your stomach time to prepare for more food.
Dr Al Hadad added, “Start your meal with protein (fish, meat and chicken) and then vegetables – these are the two most important food groups, Stop eating immediately when you feel about a half to three-quarters full and swap sweets for fruits, and make your own juices rather than the sweetened market variety.
On a separate note when schoolteachers and mothers were approached on the issue on junk food and obesity, they said that the craving for junk food and obesity among young schoolchildren is rising at an alarming level.
Children are not keen when their mothers include vegetables or fruits in their boxes of lunch. It’s the fried junk food type of foods the children prefer to have in school. “If it’s vegetable they want it fried and deviled with sauces.”
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Sheikh Nahyan said, "Yoga encourages an attitude that looks towards a common humanity as an extension of the ancient principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
The battle against obesity in the UAE is far from over, warn healthcare professionals at Bareen International Hospital in Mohammad Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi. With 30% of the world’s population being obese or overweight (according to the World Health Organisation), the figures are more alarming in the Middle East. The prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents ranges from 5% to 14% in males and from 3% to 18% in females. Furthermore, in the UAE for example, obesity levels are as high as 37% of the population.
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In a statement to 'Nation Shield,' the UAE Armed Forces magazine, on the occasion of Commemoration Day, Sheikh Mohamed paid tribute to the nation's martyrs who "are like the stars that illuminate our present and future with the noblest values and meanings and urge us to give more for the sake of the homeland."