Amna Al Haddad
Sports Pioneer from the Middle East

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Published on November 7th, 2010 | by Amna Al Haddad


Children leading unhealthy lifestyle in the UAE

In a recent article published at the national HERE, it addresses a number of issues in regards to how children in the UAE lack knowledge when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. Hm. What’s wrong in this picture? Well, firstly, kids no way can learn on their own what is healthy and what is not, so it is not surprisingly enough that kids are not armed with the necessary knowledge.

As said by Sammar Farah, from DSG:

According to a 2005 study, 74 per cent of children were either overweight or obese. “The ministry has, this year, increased the hours spent in PE,” she said. However, “it isn’t about the number of hours, but how they are spent”.

I have to give this woman credit for pointing that out because she knows that only increasing the hours of PE class will not lead anywhere. Why? Because when it comes to fitness, obesity, & exercise, it is truly quality over quantity. For example a 20-minute of High Intensity Interval Training is probably a lot better than, say one hour walking at a speed of 4km/h. Not to speak in too much detail about what HIIT is, but basically it’s a form exercise where you spend about 5 minutes warming up and 5 minutes cooling down – while you do the actual exercise during 20 minutes. In those 20 minutes, you go back and forth between a 30 or 60 second “all-out” speed, say 15 km/h and then walk or jog at 5-6Km/h. Those numbers depend on your fitness levels.

This type of exercise actually revs up your metabolism for 24 hours after the session & requires 24-48 hours rest.

Moving on, to ensure our kids have the right knowledge, parents, school and government parties all need to become aware first. You cannot blame children for their lack of knowledge, especially the ones who teach them, raise them are not aware themselves. A lot of times kids spend time with maids who they themselves don’t know what they’re cooking – how much calories are in the food, how much fat, protein, carbs. Moreover, people in restaurants should be also aware about the content of the food they serve.

Many times I popped in a restaurant or your typical Junk Food chain, and asked – how many calories are in this meal, what are are the nutritional details on that particular meal. They *shrug*. They’re not given food guidelines, let alone the hygiene ones!

Did you know that 9 pieces of buffalo wings at chilies has 1,100 calories? & that is a side dish. Yup. No joke.

The author is still in the process of arming herself with knowledge on the health scene in the UAE. We have a long way to go before we drop the obesity rates down & one day I would like to be part of it.

Yours truly, 
GymFreak at 999-Fitness

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  • Anonymous

    I agree with what you’ve written in regards to PE lessons, its how they do the PE lessons.

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