Obesity is becoming a worldwide problem, not only in adults but also in children.
The fast food industry is partly to blame and the lack of natural exercise, not necessarily gym related, is a contributory factor. But mostly the blame lies in the way our lifestyle has developed over the years.
We hardly walk if we can avoid it and spend a great deal of our time office-bound with very little physical activity. To top it all, we binge drink without realising it and eat excessively when we should try to contain our intake of calories and stop a bulging belly from deforming an overweight body structure.
Perhaps we need an incentive similar to the one just initiated by the Dubai government whose most corpulent citizens have discovered that they are worth their weight in gold in a slimming proposal announced last week.
In a desperate attempt to beat the city’s obesity epidemic, the Dubai authorities, noted for their ingenuity, are offering residents a gram of gold worth about £25 for each kilogram of weight lost in a thirty-day challenge.
Registration for the ‘Your Weight in Gold’ challenge, open to emiratis and expatriates alike, began last Friday night at weighing centres around the city.
Those taking the challenge must lose at least two kilograms in the next month to qualify for the payout. Dubai, as everyone knows, has never been afraid to think big. Its skyscrapers, cavernous shopping centres and man-made islands are great monuments to its vast, unending ambitions.
Enjoying this great success and sharing some of its benefits has left many of its residents looking pretty vast as well. The United Arab Emirates, ranked fifth in a list of the world’s most obese nations last year, shows no signs of making improvements unless something drastic is to take place.
A city in which everyone drives everywhere and is too hot to go outside for several months of the year, Dubai is not the ideal place for physical activity. The city’s innumerable gyms appear not to be doing the trick.
It is reckoned that among emiratis, sixty-seven per cent of men and seventy-two per cent of women are classed as overweight, and the problem is also rife among the large expatriate population.
Poor diet and lack of exercise mean that UAE residents contract diabetes fifteen years earlier than the global average.
Those seeking to take advantage of Dubai’s gold standard in weight loss will find their task more challenging than they would expect. With the onset of Ramadan which began last week intended as a period of abstinence and reflection, for many it is the least healthy time of the year.
Many in the Gulf states become almost nocturnal, constantly overeating after dark and then sleeping through the daylight hours of fasting.
Apparently a good number of people were ferried to hospital in Qatar after overeating during evening meals in what has become a Ramadan rite in its own way.
The lesson to be learnt is not hard to comprehend. Obesity is primarily an epidemic of the age brought about by abusing our bodies, and giving vent to an over-indulgence which is as ugly as it is degradingly harmful.
Although obesity and gluttony are bedmates, it is worth noting that gluttony kills more than the sword.