More than half of UAE population gained weight during pandemic: Survey

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A survey conducted in the United Arab Emirates this year found that over 51 percent of its respondents believed they had gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lockdown and unhealthy eating habits that stemmed from it.

The YouGov Survey by Allurion conducted in April 2021 also found that the main cause of weight gain in the UAE was snacking, with 53 percent of the UAE residents believing that they ate more frequently between meals when the pandemic hit than they used to.

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Of the 51 percent who believed to have gained weight, they stated that they had gained 8 kilograms on average during the surveyed period.

Obesity has been one of the country’s leading health problems for some time now since the majority of its population is battling with their weight, according to a 2019 Zayed Military Hospital survey, which highlighted that 70 percent of the Emirati male population were obese.

Dieting itself can sometimes not be enough to lose weight, according to weight loss firm Allurion. The company came up with a non-invasive method through the Allurion Program, approved by the UAE Ministry of Health, which constitutes of a swallowable pill that diminishes the need for surgery.

Allurion's Elipse gastric balloon for weightloss. (Twitter)
Allurion's Elipse gastric balloon for weightloss. (Twitter)

Upon ingestion, the pill expands in the stomach to around the size of a grapefruit, the company said in a statement, without the need for surgical insertion. It then passes naturally after approximately 16 weeks, allowing patients to lose an average of 10 to 15 percent of their body weight within that time-frame.

The firm believes that not only will this be an effective way for UAE residents to lose weight, but that in doing so, it will also reduce the risk of diabetes and other diseases attributed to being obese or overweight such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome, among others.

“At Allurion, we have developed what I call the ‘Weightloss 2.0’ experience. It is more effective than diet and exercise but safer, more affordable and easier than weight loss surgery,” Allurion CEO Shantanu Gaur said.

A statement released by the company also revealed that a clinical trial involving the pill and 509 patients showed that 95 percent of average weight loss can be sustained at the 12-month follow up.

In another study that involved 42 patients, the average weight loss with two sequential Allurion Balloons was 22.8 percent of total body weight loss and the maximum weight loss achieved was 40.9 percent body weight loss in 12 months.

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