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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - SHARJAH — The results of the recently conducted survey by the Health Promotion Department, HPD, at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah has shown the increased attention to the applications and programs that enhance the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, including the proper nutrition, physical activity, maintaining healthy body weight, and chronic disease prevention.
The survey, which was conducted through the HPD’s website and social medial platforms, aims to measure and assess the health awareness level in the Emirate of Sharjah.
The results showed that 76% of the targeted sample underlined the importance of physical activity in improving the overall health, 45% of those surveyed are engaged in regular physical activity (1–3 times weekly), 75% of them underlined the importance of nutrition, while 30% of them are keen to read the food label before purchasing to know more about the ingredients and the number of calories.
Enhancing health awareness
Iman Rashid Saif, director of the Health Promotion Department, stated that the HPD’s keenness to measure the health awareness in Sharjah society is in line with the visions and directives of Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, who plays a great role in making the Health Promotion Department one of the most important entities in reinforcing Sharjah’s efforts in elevating the health awareness and stimulating community members to adopt healthy lifestyles to maintain their safety and to boost the position of the Sharjah as the first healthy city in the region.
She mentioned that the survey has spotted the health issues of common interest between both genders and from all age groups, as well as citizens and residents, such as their preferred communication channels and their preferences of the educational methods, noting that the outcomes showed the interest in nutrition and obesity topics by 68% and chronic diseases by 47% and that both topics are among the most health issues of concern between the participants who expressed their wish to enhance the awareness of such topics to prevent the potential risks.
The doctor is still the first source of awareness
The survey revealed that 57% of the participants chose the doctor as the first source of awareness, followed by health-related social media pages by 24%.
The survey also found that the participants are more interested in receiving awareness-raising tips through social media platforms and smart apps by 45%, followed by media outlets by 30%, something that underlines the huge impact of such methods on society and the need to put more emphasis on using social networking sites to deliver the awareness-raising programs.
According to those surveyed, it was found that people prefer to get information via smart applications, such as Instagram which came first as the most favorite method to communicate and to receive information, followed WhatsApp, Snapchat, and YouTube. These outcomes represent a challenge for the medical settings which do not believe in these methods as an official and reliable source.
Additional support to “Wazen” program
About 1397 individuals from all society groups took part in the survey, 66% of them are government institutions employees, 34% of them are divided between students, social media followers, housewives, private sector employees, and retirees.
Among the most important goals of the survey are to provide additional support to “Wazen” program, this explains why the highest percentage of the participants is from the public sector.
“Wazen” program, the first health survey for Sharjah government employees and one of the HPD’s initiatives launched under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher in a strategic partnership with the Department of Statistics and Community Development.
The program aims to create a database, the first of its kind, for the health and wellbeing of Sharjah government employees, through which several initiatives and decisions, and activities will be developed to enhance the health and safety of the employees and to get them acquainted with the rules of the healthy lifestyle.
Wazen is targeting employees of 60 government departments and institutions, across Sharjah and the eastern and central regions of the emirate.
It also aims to spread the culture of healthy nutrition and its impact on work productivity and to enhance the capabilities and the necessary culture to create a supportive work environment for employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
The Health Promotion Department underscored that the survey results are having significant indications and outputs that help support the march of Sharjah and its objectives in terms of providing health, welfare, and happiness for citizens and residents, by updating the previous health indicators.
Also, such results would help launch programs and initiatives tailored to the needs of the current circumstances in terms of enhancing people’s health and boosting their awareness about the health patterns they have to adopt, as well as to spread the healthy habits and behaviors amid pandemics, including the new coronavirus (COVID-19), in order to get acquainted with the essential steps that need to be strengthened to improve the quality of life.
Diverse and active accounts
The results also showed that 71% of the followers for the HPD’s social media platforms have various, active, and updated accounts on social networking sites. While 49% of the targeted sample were obese and overweight, 32% of them are suffering from joint pain. The survey concluded that 24% of the participants eat junk food, something that explains the high prevalence of fast-food restaurants and the notable increase in their commercials. — SG
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