This past weekend Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Corporate Department of Dietetics and Nutrition organized a workshop on the Qatar Dietary Guidelines for clinical dietetics coordinators and food service supervisors. Over 60 specialists from HMC attended the workshop, held 12 January at Bayt Al Dhiyafah.
The Qatar Dietary Guidelines were introduced by the Ministry of Public Health in 2015 as a fundamental building block that supports and fosters healthy lifestyle behaviors. The Guidelines aim to assist the public in choosing foods that will help them stay healthy, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce disease. It includes recommendations about the type and quantity of food to eat and offers advice about which foods and beverages should be limited, such as salt, sugar, and added fats and oils. The Guidelines also contain information on safe food handling and preparation.
Ms. Reem Al Saadi, Director of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at HMC, said the workshop was organized as part of the completion of the work plan to implement the Guidelines across a variety of sectors in the country, including the health sector. She said one of the main objectives of the workshop was to emphasize the link between proper nutrition and the prevention and treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
“These Guidelines are designed for all members of the adult community between the ages of 18 and 64. The document provides adult members of the community with recommendations on healthy eating and physical activity. It is worth noting that these Guidelines are targeted at healthy adults without any underlining medical conditions. Those requiring special diets or who have a medical condition may need to meet with a dietitian or other health professional for more guidance,” said Ms. Al Saadi.
Ms. Al Saadi noted the importance of eating a diet rich in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. She said that many research studies support eating a whole food, plant-based diet as a strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. While meat and fish contribute to a healthy diet, she said moderation is key and she noted the importance of making healthy choices such as selecting whole wheat bread and grains in place of white bread, white rice, and pasta made from white flour.
Since 2015, the Ministry of Public Health has held a number of training workshops for nutrition specialists from various hospitals in the country, including a Train the Trainer program. As part of that program, three HMC staff were certified to teach their colleagues, including those directly involved in the preparation and serving of food, about the Guidelines.