Monday, June 17, 2024 | Dhu al-hijjah 10, 1445 H
clear sky
32°C / 32°C

Pay a heavy price if you stay idle

Heart disease, obesity, diabetes will cost $27 billion annually if governments don’t take urgent action to encourage more physical activity among their populations, warns WHO
No Image

The price of avoiding physical activities is very high. Movement burns calories and rejuvenates the human body, while being idle makes it weak and infirm.

The first global report prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that between 2020 and 2030, almost 500 million people around the world will develop innumerable non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, obesity and diabetes which will cost $27 billion annually if governments don’t take urgent action to encourage more physical activity among their populations.

In the Sultanate of Oman, more than half of the population are either overweight or obese, with 30 per cent of the people, mostly women, having a BMI of more than 30, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH). This figure shows a rise in the cases of obesity in Oman when compared to the last survey in 2008. However, some of the GCC countries are far ahead of the Sultanate of Oman in global statistics. WHO report points at countries to initiate and implement policies to increase physical activity levels and thereby prevent disease and reduce the burden on already overwhelmed healthcare systems as less than 50 per cent of countries have a national physical activity policy, of which less than 40 per cent are operational.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, “We need more countries to scale up implementation of policies to support people to be more active through walking, cycling, sport, and other physical activity. The benefits are huge, not only for the physical and mental health of individuals, but also for societies, environments and economies.”

According to the MoH, the causes of obesity in Oman are complex, but one of the key drivers is the way we eat and how much we move, which is changing dramatically.

“As a result of changes in our environment, unhealthy processed food and the technology that promotes sedentary lifestyles have become more readily available. Unfortunately, convenience has led us to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle, which in turn has led to obesity,” MoH report said.

Oman hosted the World Obesity Regional Conference on Women and Child First in 2019 and the Gulf Obesity Surgical Society’s sixth annual obesity conference underlining its commitment to eradicating obesity and nurturing a healthy community in the country.

To help countries increase physical activity, WHO’s Global action plan on physical activity 2018-2030 (GAPPA) sets out 20 policy recommendations to all countries and calls for accelerated action by all relevant stakeholders working better together to achieve the global target of a 15-per cent reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity by 2030.

These policies include the provision of safer roads to encourage more active transport, providing more programmes and opportunities for physical activity in key settings, such as childcare and schools to catch them young, primary healthcare and the workplace for adults.


arrow up
home icon