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Qatar’s obesity epidemic 27, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, The Gulf.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Anyone who has lived in the Gulf and has walked through a busy mall will know the scale of the obesity crisis. On an average day, the majority of the Nationals present appear to be overweight and there are always a good handful of really supersized Gulfies. The scale of this problem – pun firmly intended – has reached such levels that the venerable NYT has decided to run an article on it.

They focus on Qatar which has some of the highest obesity levels in the world. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s Qatar’s (and the Gulf’s) extreme wealth that makes a significant contribution to this problem. The article also suggests that Arab custom contributes too, with eating being a focal point of family life, yet I don’t really buy that argument as Arab culture is hardly unique in this respect. Indeed, going out to dinner with a Chinese friend or boss is every much a belt-busting ordeal as it is in the Arab world.

Another aspect that the article rightly picks up on is that relating to genetic disorders. Qatar again comes high up on these kinds of lists too. Families in the Gulf are notorious for intermarrying with predictable results. Given that there are less than 250,000 Qataris, these problems are really quite serious.

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