State-run hospitals and clinics in Qatar will stop selling junk food in their cafeterias, restaurants and vending machines, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has announced.
Discussions are currently underway with nutritionists and dietitians to determine healthier options, MOPH’s director of Health Protection and Non-communicable Diseases told reporters yesterday.
Dr. Sheikha Al Anoud bint Mohamed Al Thani added that a pilot phase to test out a healthy food plan will be rolled out soon, according to the Qatar Tribune.
Currently, chips, cookies, chocolate and sugary beverages are among the many items sold in Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) hospitals and healthcare centers.
Offering patients and visitors a convenient healthy alternative is one way officials are trying to tackle Qatar’s growing obesity and diabetes problems.
Some 42.3 percent of adults in Qatar are obese – the highest rate in the Gulf (which has an average of 36.7 percent).
Because many people are living longer but with more costly illnesses such as diabetes, Qatar will be contending with a larger, older and sicker population in the coming years, according to analysts.
In part due to this, the nation’s health spending is projected to double to US$8.8 billion by 2020, Alpen Capital’s GCC Healthcare Industry report 2016 said in February.
MOPH has also announced a new contest asking residents to submit their healthy recipes for traditional foods:
— وزارة الصحة العامة (@MOPHQatar) May 1, 2016
Entries should be submitted via email to QDG@sch.gov.qa by May 20.