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MOPH launches the national campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of Obesity

Recognizing Obesity as a Disease is Essential

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Under the patronage of his Excellency, Dr. Jamil Jabak- Minister of Public Health- MOPH launched its national campaign aiming at raising awareness on the dangers of obesity. The campaign titled “Your health has a limit, take weight off of it” was announced through a press conference that took place in the Ministry on Wednesday the 31st of July 2019 and was attended by representatives of different organizations and entities who are part in this campaign, in addition to various media stakeholders.

By definition, obesity or extra weight is a medical condition in which body fat accumulates excessively and poses a danger to the individual’s health and wellbeing. According to different sources, between 18 and 32% of the Lebanese community suffer from this condition. In a recent report done by the World Health Organization, 9 countries from the MENA region were mentioned among the countries with the highest rate for Obesity in the world with Lebanon ranking 6th after Kuwait, Jordan, KSA, Qatar, and Libya.

In light of these facts, this campaign was organized to shed light on the importance of recognizing obesity as a disease and encourage those who suffer from this disease to consult specialized doctors to determine and treat reasons behind the condition to reach the ultimate goal of reducing and maintain their weight. The aim behind Novo Nordisk launching this campaign in collaboration with MOPH was to raise awareness on dangers of obesity and how to treat it or avoid it.

During the conference, the Minister of Public Health, Dr. Jamil Jabak, highlighted the importance of having a nation-wide campaign shedding light on obesity and its dangers. Moreover, he presented the campaign’s current activities in addition to future ones and said, “The campaign we are launching today is in collaboration with the Lebanese Society for Endocrinology and the Lebanese association of nutrition and dietetic. It includes giving our pamphlets and brochures as well as conducting BMI tests in several different areas in Lebanon where professionals and experts will be ready to answer people’s questions and offer advice and guidance on obesity.

Representative of the Lebanese society Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Lipids Dr. Akram Chtay said. “the main aim behind the launching of this campaign is recognizing obesity as a serious and dangerous disease, as it leads to many other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, increase of fats and lipids in the blood, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, spine and joint diseases, as well as psychological illnesses and their negative impact on reproductive health, with an increased risk of certain malignant diseases.” Dr.Chtay continued, “we can decrease the risk of being exposed to all those diseases if we treat obesity which is even avoidable through maintaining a healthy lifestyle by training regularly and eating healthy.”

The public affairs manager of Novo Nordisk Mr. Toufic Eid said, “Studies have shown that the depth of the problem lies in the fact that obesity is a lifestyle option resulting from poor will and lack of motivation. Hence comes the urgent need to recognize the risks of obesity at the governmental, clinical and public level to promote the importance of prevention and treatment on both the individual and community level. On economic and social levels, obesity is not a new problem which have cost the community and the stakeholders a lot of resources to correct and remedy the resulting complications. Our goal from this cooperation is to agree on a road map towards integrated management of obesity, especially because of all its benefit on the health and economic systems and basically the health of the Lebanese patient.”

Dr. Nahla Hawla, Professor of Nutrition at the American University of Beirut and President of the Lebanese Nutrition Association said that understanding the effects of obesity as a disease is not purely the individual’s responsibility, but the community’s as well including schools, universities, parents, and the private sector as well as health and educational strategies and all the diet systems in the country.

The campaign titles “Your health has a limit, take weight off of it” aims to build awareness on the dangers of obesity. It stresses on the fact that obesity is a disease that can be avoided or treated, especially that treating it can also help protect the individual from being diagnosed with several other diseases such as diabetes for example. The campaign is a result of a collaboration between all parties involved in MOPH to help control this disease and stop it from spreading further.

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