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Department of Health—Abu Dhabi calls for participation in its new program for weight management and obesity in children

5 Feb, 2019: Department of Health—Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi invited health facilities to join its new weight management program for overweight and obese children aged 2 to 18. This program aims to enable members of the society to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and fight obesity by setting clear goals and targets that would monitor their performance and improve their health within a specific timeline.

  • The program focuses on lifestyle interventions involving family members and not only obese children
  • The program paves the way for healthcare providers to adopt the best global practices for weight management and obesity in children

In line with the National Agenda’s top priorities for the UAE 2021 Vision, and DoH’s efforts to combatting obesity, the launch of this program came as a result of the increased prevalence of obesity among children globally.

By way of this multidisciplinary program, DoH is paving the way for health care providers to adopt best global practices in the management of childhood obesity, and to standardise and diagnose obesity in children. Commenting on the program, Dr. Omniyat Al Hajri, Director of the Public Health division at DoH said: “Through this program, we aim to ensure that family members become role models to children in adopting healthy habits that contribute to combatting obesity. Additionally, the program aims to involve the healthcare sector in contributing towards a healthier Abu Dhabi ensuring that children receive weight management services which have proven to be effective globally.”

Al Hajri added: “The program worked on developing certain criteria that brought about two models to manage children obesity. The first model includes primary health care facilities, where a multidisciplinary team including a physician and nutritionist trained in paediatric obesity management is required. This model provides one type of therapeutic intervention, namely lifestyle therapy, while including dietary, physical activity and behavioural therapy. The second model includes specialised centres and hospitals for children where the medical team provides a comprehensive weight management program for children in need of medication or surgical operations as well as management of obesity-related diseases.”

The program, which targets patients and their families, also includes behavioural therapy via a multidisciplinary team of qualified health professionals, as well as pharmacological and surgical operations, if lifestyle interventions do not achieve the desired result, or if there is a medically related case. The program also provides appropriate education and care for the behavioural lifestyles of adolescents who are opting for surgical operations to treat obesity.

The Department of Health calls upon all health facilities and health professionals wishing to join the program, to register in the CME workshop by sending an email to NCD@doh.gov.ae. The workshop will be held on 26 February 2019, and will familiarize participants with the program and train them in the field of weight management for children.

For more information on the weight management program requirements for obese children please Weight Management Program for Overweight and Obese Children.pdf

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