Muscat: While an estimated 33 per cent of Oman’s population are obese, an equal percentage is overweight as well. Women account for 40 per cent of this total 66 per cent. This startling revelation was made by Dr Noor al Busaidy, Senior Consultant Endocrinologist, Director of National Diabetes and Endocrine Centre and President of Oman Diabetes Association. She was addressing the sixth annual celebration of the highest weight losers conducted by the National Diabetes and Endocrine Centre.
Demographically, 45 per cent of people in Salalah, 38 per cent in Muscat and 45 per cent in Musandam are under the grip of this epidemic.
“So we really need to work together as the initiative is to come not only from the Ministry of Health, the National Diabetes Centre and Oman Diabetes Association but people have to work with us in terms of infrastructure, industry and awareness. Social media can help us tremendously to increase awareness,” she said.
According to Dr Noor, like everywhere else there are multifactorial causes such as lifestyle, genetic reasons, environmental causes, toxins, diseases and medications. All these causes have an impact, she said.
“We started as a small group at the centre and today we have 180 attendees in the event. We encourage the group to lose weight and then maintain the weight over the years. So we have some of them who have managed to keep their weight down — some of them for two years while others have been successful for three years,” said Dr Noor.
Khalsa al Hindasi, who brought her weight down from 147 to 71 kilos, won the first prize in the 2019 weight losers programme. Omar al Farsi and Said al Araimi won the second and third prizes, respectively.
Ahmed al Serei, Khalsa’s husband, explained proudly how she managed to bring down her weight by going on a diet of no sugar and no fat. “Only healthy food with physical activity was incorporated into the lifestyle. She just followed the guidelines given by the centre,” he explained.
Meanwhile at the same weight was Mazin al Fulaiti, World Obesity Federation Patient Representative. He had lost 62 kg but he did not stop there, he has now become an advocate on eating right.
“Our diet contains lots of carbohydrates. We have lots of rice and potatoes in our food intake. But when we give people replacement for their original diet, they are ready to try it. I started experimenting with low carb food and began to share it with my family members. Now I share the recipes with others through my Instagram account @habib_mazin.”
It all began when his friend was diagnosed with diabetes in 2017. “He and I have the same habits and so I decided to visit the National Diabetes and Endocrine Centre at Bausher,” noted Mazin.
From then on he followed their guidelines and has been able to transform himself. As people get tired of being asked to substitute the egg for most of the food they are used to he came up with a special sandwich of salmon and another set of vegetable sandwiches. But the bread was not made of flour, but almond powder and egg.
“We just need to eat differently. When I visited the NDEC after a month since my first appointment I had lost 10 kg. That month was my motivation to read more about diets and started talking to experts from other countries too like Canada, America, and UK and while I learned to be aware of my food intake the doctors also guided me on how to help other people too.
“They are the ones who encouraged me to begin my own insta page. It had a humble beginning at first. It was just about the food I was preparing, but now I feature the shopping of the products too. Thankfully there are around 6k followers on the Instagram page and more are coming because people are changing their lifestyle and diet. People are looking for diet which can suit their need without being too difficult,” explained Mazin.