According to a recent study by the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the Sultanate of Oman, 66 per cent of the population are suffering with obesity, the majority of them are women.
The study also suggest that one in four Omanis is at risk of developing obesity. These are alarming figures especially that obesity is the main cause of diabetes and heart disease as well as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
So how did we get to this and what can we do about it?
The improvement of financial situation of the public in the Sultanate of Oman and other Gulf countries along with the combination more fast food outlets and lack of physical activities are the main factors behind this wave of obesity.
One can even go to the extent of blaming the delivery services and strong advertising campaigns in shaping our eating habits.
For most people food is beyond satisfying hunger, it is a way of expressing our of social status . We eat out to celebrate, we also eat out to feel good and share photos of our plates and fancy restaurants in social media to announce our status to our virtual friends.
Also social events like weddings, birthdays and graduations become an opportunity to share large amount of food that is usually rich in fats and carbohydrates.
Next to our eating habits comes lack of physical activities as most of us walk less and use cars even for short commutes, no wonder that our bodies consume lots of food and burn little energy.
So what can we do to promote healthier life style?
Health psychologists can help by promoting individuals to self-monitor their eating habits and physical activity. They can also recommend ways of managing stress without restoring to comfort eating which we sometimes do when we feel stressed, anxious or bored and give people tips to keep up with healthy life style and not relapse back into old unhealthy habits.
Let’s agree that not all of us are up for gym membership or heavy weight lifting, not just because of our age, busy schedule or being able to afford gym membership but we could be lacking the motivation to make such an effort.
Therefore more health experts are suggesting adding small steps to our daily routine like having regular walks and parking further away from the building and walk that extra distance, using the stares when possible instead of the elevators.
Some time using a smart watch that calculate steps can help us get more motivated. There are also smart phone application such as sweat coin that gives you discounts vouchers when you complete certain number of steps. With time and dedication we can adopt more healthy habits in our daily routine.
The benefit of walking goes beyond the physical exercise as recent psychological studies showed taking a walk in the park or by the beach, hiking or swimming can improve your attention, lower your stress levels and reduce your risk of developing mental health problems.
So what are you waiting for? Grab you shoes and dress comfortably and let’s go for a walk.