Abu Dhabi launches new healthy eating drive to curb obesity levels

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The UAE’s capital has launched a new drive to encourage healthy eating habits and curb obesity in a strategy which will see foods labeled for calories and nutritious food choices promoted on menus.

Abu Dhabi Public Health Center has launched out the SEHHI program, which will see healthy food items have a SEHHI logo placed next to them on menus. Foods will also have the calories content displayed.

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Supermarkets and grocery stores will also be encouraged to promote and display nutritious foods on sale in food and beverage outlets under the initiative which aims to empower residents in the capital to make healthy food choices, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday.

Matar Al Nuaimi, director-general of Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, said: "ADPHC is committed to the safety and wellbeing of every member of the Abu Dhabi community and nutrition undoubtedly plays a critical role in promoting overall health and has a profound impact on reducing the prevalence and burden of lifestyle diseases.”

“As such, the launch of the SEHHI program aligns with our vision toward a healthy, safe society by consolidating the efforts of various stakeholders in the ecosystem to ensure access to healthy foods and promote more informed and educated dietary choices."

The strategy aims to boost lifestyle habits; helping people to live longer and healthier lives while easing pressure on health services.

Dr Omniyat Al Hajeri, executive director of Community Health at Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, added: “The SEHHI program will support and empower the community to make well informed decisions when it comes to the consumption of food.”

“Through the SEHHI programme, ADPHC has made sure to reach all consumer touchpoints to encourage better dietary decisions. We strongly urge the community to follow healthy eating habits and ensure they are consuming a balanced diet. "

A comprehensive classification process has also been established to identify foods that fall under the SEHHI program, with the criteria considering calorie count, total fats, saturated and trans fats, sugar, salt, and fiber amounts.

Food outlets will also be able to input details about their food items into a digitized platform that will review and analyze the nutritional value of their dishes, identifying those that meet the SEHHI criteria.

Participating entities will receive guidance and a series of trainings to ensure the optimal implementation of the program, WAM said.

In conjunction, the Abu Dhabi community will also be provided with information and guidance on making healthier food choices.

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