Doha, 3 March, 2020: To raise awareness of strategies to prevent and treat obesity – a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it could harm their health – Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is hosting World Obesity Day events at Hamad General Hospital, Al Wakra Hospital, the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC), and in the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Park.
Held under the theme ‘Obesity is a Treatable Disease’, Dr. Moataz Bashah, Head of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Services at HMC, said recognizing World Obesity Day provides HMC with an opportunity to engage members of the community in discussions about weight management and obesity prevention.
“Obesity is considered an epidemic in many countries. It places people at a higher risk for serious diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, and some types of cancer. World Obesity Day is an opportune time for us to highlight the genetic, psychological, sociocultural, economic, and environmental factors that can contribute to high obesity rates, but it is also an opportunity for us to help residents who are overweight or obese,” said Dr. Bashah.
Obesity is now classified as a chronic disease and Dr. Mohamed Aly Elsherif, Associate Consultant, Bariatric Endocrinology at HMC says it is important for people to know their body mass index (BMI) and to be honest about recognizing what changes they need to make to control their weight.
“There is a correlation between a high BMI and an increased risk of many health conditions. BMI does not tell the whole story and doesn’t take into account a person’s lifestyle, for example what they eat or if they smoke, but it’s an important indicator of one’s risk for weight-related diseases,” said Dr. Elsherif.
BMI is a tool that doctors use to assess if a person is at an appropriate weight for their age, gender, and height. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 indicates that a person is carrying excess weight and a BMI of 30 or above suggests that a person may have obesity.
For individuals who are overweight or obese, Dr. Bashah recommends talking to their healthcare provider. He says for most people weight loss comes down to burning more calories than they take in. He says while bariatric surgery has increased in popularity in recent years, it is not right for everyone.
“Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries, which are collectively known as bariatric surgery, involve making changes to one’s digestive system to help them lose weight. Some procedures limit how much a person can eat, while others reduce the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Bariatric surgery can offer many benefits, but it is a major procedure that can pose serious risks and side effects,” added Dr. Bashah.
Dr. Elsherif says individuals who have serious health problems because of their weight are often good candidates for weight-loss surgery or medications, but he says for most people the key to successful weight loss is a commitment to making changes to diet and exercise habits. He says it can be challenging to implement a practical, effective, and sustainable weight-loss plan, so he recommends talking to one’s doctor and establishing a support network.
“Obesity can severely damage one’s quality of life, physically and emotionally, so it is not difficult to understand why many patients seek out weight-loss surgery. However, surgery is not always the best solution and many patients have had success with medical weight management and non-surgical options,” said Dr. Elsherif.
Dr. Bashah says HMC recognizes World Obesity Day as part of ongoing efforts to increase public awareness about the fact that obesity is a treatable and preventable disease. He says it is also an opportunity to highlight weight loss and weight management services provided by HMC.
HMC will host World Obesity Day events at Hamad General Hospital, Al Wakra Hospital, and the Ambulatory Care Center from 8am to 12pm on 4 March. Members of the bariatric and metabolic services team will be available to provide dietary education and free consultations and examinations, including blood glucose (diabetes screening) checks, BMI, and vital sign assessments. HMC will also host a community event on 13 March at MIA Park.