By Mohammad Bin Dawood
JEDDAH — A Saudi doctor impressed the British authorities after successfully redesigning public sector obesity treatment programs for adults and children under the British Ministry of Health.
Shatha Abu Ouf is the first Saudi doctor to join the British Committee for Family and Children Health Programs. She is among 22 health experts, doctors and researchers in the committee.
The program proposed by Abu Ouf was implemented in 39 public hospices and among 74,000 families and children in 13 Scottish provinces. The program has brought down the rate of obesity in Britain by 28.8 percent.
“The authorities found my program to be a historical achievement for the obesity fight in Britain. There is a lot of effort put into raising awareness about obesity in Saudi society and the need to curb it. There are programs that are working on promoting the need for health clubs and nutritional lifestyles,” said Abu Ouf.
She added the rate of obesity in Saudi Arabia is increasing, especially among children.
“A lot of research has been conducted on the most effective nutritional diet and treatment programs available. The key is in providing a comprehensive and suitable program for each individual. The program should not only aim at losing the extra weight, but it should also aim at tackling the causes that lead to obesity in the first place,” said Abu Ouf.
She added that Saudi Arabia is in great need of an advanced program to control the rising rate of obesity.
“Controlling the rate of obesity in the Kingdom will decrease the country’s spending on treatment of many diseases. With a lesser obesity rate, Saudi society will be a healthier society as a whole,” said Abu Ouf.
Abu Ouf was born in Jeddah and had her school education at Dar Al-Hanan. She earned her bachelor’s degree from King Abdulaziz University and her Master’s and PhD from Glasgow University in the UK.