Ministry begins campaign to promote healthy eating habits
April 12 2016 11:16 PM
ministry
MPH, WCM-Q and Al Meera officials at the press conference yesterday. PICTURE: Jayaram

By Joseph Varghese/Staff Reporter

The Ministry of Public Health (MPH) has launched a public awareness campaign to promote healthy eating habits in partnership with Al Meera Consumer Goods Company and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).
An agreement in this regard was signed yesterday by Dr Saleh bin Ali al-Marri from MPH, Al Meera deputy CEO Dr Mohammed Nasser al-Qahtani, and WCM-Q chief communications officer Nesreen al-Rifai.
The agreement aims to provide the public with a wide range of valuable nutrition information through posters displayed at Al Meera branches. Initially, the posters will be displayed at five Al Meera outlets across the country, which will help consumers take informed decisions about healthy and balanced diets.
MPH will set up a task force to help in preparing and revising the posters, implementing the health programme at workplaces, carrying out a survey to assess the needs of Al Meera employees and conducting health check-ups for them. The Ministry will provide advice to all parties concerned, promote wellness at workplaces and assess public health knowledge and awareness.
WCM-Q will contribute to nutrition information of the posters in accordance with the Qatar dietary guidelines and will set up a workforce to implement the programme and prepare the posters.
Al Meera will have a taskforce to implement the nutrition posters programme and promote healthy lifestyles. It will host awareness activities at suitable times and encourage consumers to adopt healthier lifestyles.
Dr al-Marri said, “This MoU is part of our concerted efforts to promote health awareness, especially as far as healthy diet is concerned, and the MPH attaches special importance to raising health awareness in the community in co-operation with all concerned partners.”
He added that the Qatar STEPS Non-communicable Disease Risk Factors Survey 2012 showed that the majority of adult Qataris (91%) consumed less than five servings of fruits and vegetables on average per day, 45.9% of them had low physical activity, 41.4% of the respondents were obese and 70% were overweight.
“Al Meera is keen on supporting initiatives that aim to promote food safety and healthy eating habits. It will contribute in spreading this message through health awareness posters displayed at five  of its branches initially, namely Legtaifiya, Gulf Mall, Al Wakrah (South), Thakhira and Géant Hypermarket, and will roll out the programme later at more branches,” said Dr al-Qahtani.
“Sahtak Awalan” - Your Health First - was launched with the aim of promoting healthy lifestyles in Qatar by encouraging the community to have balanced and healthy meals, amongst other goals. The present MoU will allow Sahtak Awalan and MPH to prepare educational information in accordance with the Qatar Dietary Guidelines which will offer advice and enable families to shop for healthy foods,” said al-Rifai.
Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director, Public Health, MPH; Sheikha Dr al-Anoud bint Mohamed al-Thani, director, Health Protection and Non-communicable Diseases at MPH; and Dr Shahrad Taheri, professor of medicine at WCM-Q, were also present at the event.



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