DOHA: Around 32.9 percent of Qataris suffer from hypertension and one-third of them ignore their diagnosis, data shows.
And high blood pressure is responsible for 12.8 percent of all deaths around the world, or 7.5 million people annually.
Qatar Foundation’s Food and Nutrition Services Department held a ‘Nutrition Awareness Month’ campaign to educate staff and students on how a healthy lifestyle can combat hypertension.
‘Yes for a Healthier Life’ focused on causes, prevention and the role of salt vis-a-vis high blood pressure.
During the awareness event, three behavioural attitudes linked to hypertension were discussed — smoking, lack of physical activity and unhealthy diets.
Statistics show that 14.7 percent of Qatari adults smoke regularly, 71.3 percent are not physically active and 91.1 percent eat less than the recommended level of five portions of fruits or vegetables daily. The campaign was part of the commitment of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development to provide employees and students in Education City with initiatives to improve their lifestyle.
Joelle Hamamji Seyoury, Food and Nutrition Services Manager, QF Support Services Directorate, said: “This year, we chose to address hypertension and the role salt plays. Our objective is to empower participants by reducing their sodium intake and improving their health. Our activities cater to QF’s students and employees. They represent a microcosm of the larger Qatari society and so health challenges faced by the country are also being experienced by our small community.”
With the help of Qatar Biobank, a database has been created to quantify the number of people that suffer, or may suffer, from hypertension in the future. By visiting 11 locations within QF, data was collected from 300 participants.
Campaign activities were led by Pascale Hadchiti Richa, Nutrition Services Supervisor, QF’s Food and Nutrition Services. Initiatives included workshops, healthy cooking sessions, and smart food shopping, as studies indicate that high salt intake is due to canned or processed food, not home cooking.