The boy who cried fat
A majority of the UAE do not believe they are overweight or obese, despite WTO figures confirming they are. What is at the heart of the problem?
January 24, 2011 3:02 by shafeer
“There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!”
The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.
“Don’t cry ‘wolf’, shepherd boy,” said the villagers, “when there’s no wolf!” They went grumbling back down the hill….”
Kipp doesn’t think we need to complete Aesop’s famed fable, because who doesn’t know about the boy who cried wolf? But why are we recollecting it right now? Well Kipp is wondering if the essence of the story is at the heart of a recent phenomenon we read about in Gulf News this morning about obesity in the Emirates.
Apparently, recent research has found that “75 percent of those surveyed said they think they are not overweight, contradicting World Health Organisation (WHO) figures that show that about 67 percent of Emirati men and 72 per cent of women are overweight.”
The survey was commissioned across the GCC by Philips Healthcare to get feedback on the attitudes towards health care. The survey also found that, despite cardiovascular disease being ‘the number one killer in the region” more than 99 percent of those surveyed did not see heart disease as a significant threat.
Philips Healthcare general manager Diederik Zeven thinks the results boil down to a lack of awareness. “Rewarding as it is to see such positive perceptions in the Middle East, it is also a possible matter of concern as it could indicate a serious lack of awareness of the implications of increasing obesity and other underlying health trends in the region,” he says.
Lack of awareness, wonders Kipp. Well if 75 percent say they think they are fine and dandy despite statistics from the WHO suggesting the exact opposite, you certainly could argue that there is a lack of awareness. But Kipp also thinks the indifference could be a result of too much awareness. Constantly bombarding people with information about how they are completely unfit, unhealthy and should join XYZ gym instantly, is the sort of thing that makes them turn a blind eye to the problem.
What do you think? Are we in the dark, or in denial? Or do we just not care? Pass the donuts.