UAE Authorities Step In to Manage School Meals

UAE Authorities Step In to Manage School Meals
By James Mullan
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The Ministry of Education (MOE) in the UAE is taking direct action to manage the diets of children attending school, according to reports in local media.  From the beginning of the next academic year they will work directly with food suppliers to distribute food products to school canteens, the head of Nutrition and School Health Department at the ministry has said.

Childhood obesity is at 'epidemic proportions' according to health experts with more than a third of children from 6 to 16 categorised as clinically obese.  The UAE is currently listed seventh on the Global Fat Scale among 177 countries, calculated using UN data on population size and estimates of global weight from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Last year’s figures from a nationwide survey of Emirati and expatriate schoolchildren by the Ministry of Health (MoH) stated that a startling 21 per cent had fast food three times or more a day.

The leading cause of obesity is the availability of junk food and lack of parental involvement in making health a priority, according to Dr Liza Thomas, Specialist Internal Medicine, Canadian Specialist Hospital.

She explained that parents find it more convenient to visit a fast food outlet then to prepare a healthy meal at home.


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