Sunday, April 22, 2012
Qatar and Obesity
Well a study has come out recently that notes Qatar as one of the most overweight nations in the world, with its citizens having very high obesity rates and cases of diabetes.
Unfortunately I can't say I'm too surprised. Exercise can be easily put off for relaxing with friends over food, and the heat and dust of summer makes exercising outdoors a real problem. Combine that with extensive wealth resulting in an abundance of servants, the popularity of Western fast food, and a culture where everyone drives, and it should not be surprising that there are weight problems.
When I first arrived in Doha I noticed that pretty much anyone arriving here gained weight. My colleagues and I called it the "Doha Two Inches", referring to the growth around your waistline in the first month of settling in to Qatar. Since then I have always tried to be mindful of my weight and while I have made some progress I still must admit I am overweight. Too much great food options I guess.
Being from North America (which has significant problems with obesity), then moving to Bermuda (in my opinion even worse problems with obesity), I didn't notice it as much moving to Qatar. Nowadays though I see so many obese children it is alarming. A lot of kids maybe 5 to 10 years old practically look like the Michelin Man.
A recent forum in Qatar called for the Government to put the calories on restaurant menus, especially fast food outlets. Coincidence that this happened around the time the study came out?
Thankfully His Highness the Emir is leading the way. His Highness has lost a lot of weight over the last year or so -- it's really noticeable. He's lost so much weight that I was worried at first he might be very ill but a Qatari friend reassured me that he is not ill, he is just losing weight. Hopefully others follow the Emir’s example (including me).
(I guess this is a bad time to let everyone know that I've updated my post about "Where to Eat in Doha" with the new Thai restaurant and a new café in Souq Waqif but . . . tough luck, eat the food and exercise some more.)