As part of a research programme, schoolchildren will be taught healthy lifestyle and how to prevent obesity, a fast growing problem in the country.
The new weight management programme designed to overcome obesity among schoolchildren in Qatar is one of the exceptional proposals that have been awarded funding by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).
The project was proposed by Qatar University and will be implemented with several other institutions.
The five-year project would begin next month and it has been granted approximately $5m to overcome the country’s weight issue.
According to the National Health Strategy 2011-2016, about 75 percent of Qataris are overweight and 40 percent are obese.
The weight management programme will be implemented and evaluated among children at the vulnerable age of 9 to 12 years from 20 selected schools.
“This particular age group has higher incidents of obesity. Approximately 20 percent of them are just over weight and 40 percent of them have obesity. This prevalence seems to be increasing over the years,” Dr Mohammed Ahmedna, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences at Qatar University told The Peninsula yesterday.
“It’s an interdisciplinary project with parental involvement and expertise from different partners,” he added.
Dr Ahmedna is the principal investigator of the project ‘Adapted Cognitive Behavioural Approach to Addressing Overweight and Obesity among Qatari Youth.’
The project aims to help address obesity at its source by increasing awareness at an early stage in the Qatari population about how to manage weight and avert risks associated with being overweight.
It incorporates a cognitive-behavioural approach that involves developing social and emotional competences.
Children will be introduced to healthy eating lifestyle practices. They will be given special coaching at camps held at schools and physical training. They will be monitored for a period of five years and then compared with students who are not included in the programme.
It is expected that the practices implemented in this project could provide the basis for a national programme to stem the rise of obesity in Qatar through lifestyle changes, and reduce related health conditions.
Dr Abdelhamid Kerkadi of Qatar University’s Department of Health Sciences, and co-researchers from Hamad Medical Corporation, Supreme Education Council, Aspire Zone, and Imperial College and Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK, will be partners of the project.
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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