Nearly half of children in Jeddah ‘at risk of obesity’

About 40 percent of children in Jeddah are overweight and at risk of becoming obese, according to a medical survey.

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About 40 percent of children in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, are overweight and at risk of becoming obese, according to a medical survey.

The survey, conducted by students of the college of pediatrics at King Abdulaziz University, said a large number of children do not play any kind of sports and are gaining weight.

The study was conducted at a number of shopping malls in Jeddah as part of a health awareness campaign organized by the college.

Dr. Abdul Moien Eid Al-Agha, professor of pediatrics and supervisor of the campaign, said excessive weight is a warning sign of obesity and all its associated diseases including diabetes.

“Such medical campaigns are necessary to stop these diseases developing in children, who constitute a big chunk of the society,” he said.

"The campaign revealed that many parents did not notice the weight increase of their kids or that some of them were suffering from an acute shortage of vitamin D.”

Agha said organizers of the campaign noted that the weights of some children were not commensurate with their height and so they warned parents that their sons and daughters were at risk of becoming obese.

He urged parents to deal with the problem before the children become teenagers.

“The solution is to combine good nutrition, sports, psychological support and behavioral changes,” he added.

Agha warned against consuming fast food with high calories and said such meals would increase fat levels in the body and subsequently lead to obesity.

This was first published in the Saudi Gazette.