According to a new survey by King’s College Hospital London in November, which polled 500 parents, families display ‘a sort of blindness’ to BMI, a measurement used to determine body mass.
Dr Gowri Ramanathan, associate chief medical officer at Abu Dhabi-based private health-care facility King’s College Hospital London, told Gulf News, “Parents are either unaware about how their children’s BMI [calculated as a height-to-weight ratio] is relevant to overall health, or simply choose not to address it. At any rate, there is a failure to acknowledge that eating unhealthy coupled with a sedentary lifestyle puts children at tremendous risk.”
The survey also showed that 88% of parents in the country believe that kids eating habits should be healthier, yet 33% said they do not always have the time to prepare healthy meals.
In the UAE, 8% of expat children and 19% of Emirati children display abnormal BMI, including low BMI, said Dr Malin Garemo, co-chair and assistant professor of health sciences at Zayed University.
The survey was put together to support the Abu Dhabi Childhood Obesity Forum, which begins on Sunday.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and the emirate’s health sector regulator, the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, the forum is two-day event that will discuss UAE children’s ‘weight problem’.