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150 Minutes of Physical Activity: The New Dubai School Program To Fight Obesity

Dubai is launching a new program of trainings and physical activities in all schools over the Emirate. A measure taken to fight against obesity that affects the Emirati youth, and to raise awareness on healthier lifestyle.

150 minutes of sports every week, that’s the new health program to be implemented in all schools over Dubai, from primary schools to universities. Children will be offered a choice of different exercises, supervised by school health staff and accompanied by an electronic platform to keep pupils’ medical record for parents and doctors.

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A comprehensive next-gen program

This government initiated this program in order to reduce childhood obesity. It has been designed and assigned by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Human Development Authority and will be implemented over the next 5 years. It relies on the best practices that have already been tested in some schools and aims to create a healthy and motivating environment for students, above all.

It will be supervised by school medical staff specially trained to spot signs of obesity and other ill health amongst young people, through various optical, dental or psychological examinations. The program is on the forefront of innovations by including a digital platform to give access to children’s medical record to parents and doctors. Here is the 2.0 child health booklet !

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Reducing obesity, a major challenge for Dubaï

Raising awareness is the main issue. Indeed, according to a YouGov poll conducted last April in the country “1 in 4 children think playing video games or reading a book is exercise.” Moreover, 40% of Emirati young population is affected by obesity or overweight, which usually lead to long-term impacts such as diabetes or cancers. The goal is, above all, “to ensure the physical, emotional, social and psychological well-being of students,” said Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of DHA.

A similar initiative was already implemented in Abu Dhabi in spring through the “Healthy Lifestyle” program. It focuses on mixing fun and interactive activities with sport, while educating on the importance of having a balanced lifestyle, good sleep and hydration, through advice given by popular coaches from city football schools.

Published on 19 July 2018