Non-Surgical Treatment of obesity during COVID-19 epidemic by Dr. Tarek Saleh

  1. Tell us a little about you and your clinic?

I am Dr. Tarek Saleh, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Obesity at “Saleh Clinic”, and I have extensive experience in the field of non-surgical weight-loss procedures since 2000. I have conducted over 3,500 intragastric balloon procedures.


  1. What are some challenges that your clinic is facing now?

The global pandemic that we are facing today poses some risk to the patients due to which there was previously a decline in the appointments; however we have started to see this turn around


  1. What are some of the precautionary measures being used at your clinic and hospital now?

We have taken significant measures in the clinic to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the visiting patients which include maintaining a 2-meter distance between seating, an average of 20 minutes between appointments to reduce interaction between patients and also to allow time to sanitize the surfaces.


  1. What do you feel will be the impact of global quarantine on weight gain?

The quarantine can have an adverse effect on certain patients as staying indoors for a longer duration can lead to stress and possibly depression. While some individuals may opt for medication, others may increase their food & sugar intake to elevate their mood. This will lead to weight gain and could potentially lead to other serious complications.


  1. Thanks, it looks like this increase in obesity rate from quarantine you mentioned will need to be quickly handled. Additionally, after quarantine some surgical centers may be closed for a little while. So, should less invasive medical weight loss options be considered more like gastric balloons that don’t require endoscopy or surgery- what are your thoughts?

Indeed. The current situation requires a lot of medical attention. In such a scenario, the best solution to combat obesity while minimizing or eliminating hospital visit is the procedure-less Intragastric balloon solution.


  1. What is your advice for a person who is overweight to protect himself, in light of the conditions imposed by the emerging epidemic of COVID-19?

We are available on call 24/7, and now we are offering online consultations to answer and support our patients, advising them on what to eat, and how to adjust their lifestyles and include at-home physical activity. They should avoid social gathering during this period, especially during the month of Ramadan.


  1. What’s the one good thing that you’ve noticed during this time?

We discovered the value of life and how important it is to spend quality time with family and loved ones than anything else in the world.


Dubai, May 2020: Throughout the ages, people of different beliefs and cultures fasted, and the obligation to fast in the blessed month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, although the Somali was not imposed on children, but many children under the age of puberty fast even if to varying degrees, some of them Of self-desire and others of their families ’desire to prepare them for fasting.

Dr. Wasfi Al-Abyari Pediatrician, Consultant Pediatric at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai, gives 5 healthy tips for children fasting during holy month of Ramadan:

Psychological readiness: an explanation and explanation of the child’s true meaning of fasting (its importance and benefits), and what carries with it much greater meanings than abstaining from food and drink. And being a great opportunity to control oneself and do good and help others, the issue can also be approached from the point of view of instilling a healthy food culture for children.

Gradual fasting and golden points: For children under the age of ten, it is preferable to follow the step-by-step method for each child according to his age, ability, and personal readiness.

Sleep and Suhoor: Adequate hours of sleep needed by the child’s body must be maintained (at least 8 hours), so it is preferable for the child to go to bed early with fixing the time for suhoor, rather than to give sufficient time for this important meal.

Food quality: The quality of food is the cornerstone of getting the best results. You should refrain from eating fast foods and canned foods, as well as foods and drinks rich in sugars, and that the food depends on sufficient quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits along with starches, proteins, salts and saturated fats.

Follow program of scheduled meals:

Fast Breaking: Dates, water, soup then a short prayer break

The main Iftar meal healthy home food

Snack: Sweets can be consumed in moderation 2-3 times per week and fresh juices without adding sugar.

For sports fans, it is advised not to do a heavy physical exertion, you can walk or do light workouts (preferably 2 hours after breakfast)

Suhoor: Suhoor must be given enough time, preferring to focus on foods rich in fiber, in addition to yogurt.

In the end, maximizing the ritual of fasting, spreading joy in the atmosphere of the home and involving children in prayer and preparing food or charitable activity carried out by the family benefits the family in general and the child in particular.

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