‘Need for more parks to hike interest in exercise’ Lack of awareness seen in fighting lifestyle diseases

A MAJORITY of voters in this week’s online poll by Arab Times felt there is a need for more parks in Kuwait to encourage people to indulge in exercise every day.

About 35% of the voters held this view. Respondents said that greenery attracts people and everyone likes to take a stroll when they feel close to nature.

Further they said that it’s a sad sight to watch walkers on medians on the road, keeping a careful watch on the traffic, afraid of being rundown by a reckless motorist. “This might even have a negative effect on health from inhaling all the carbon monoxide from vehicle exhausts.”

About 34% of the voters favored more health campaigns to increase awareness among the public. When Arab Times spoke to people who supported this view, respondents said that lack of awareness is the biggest drawback in fighting lifestyle diseases.

Doctors interviewed by Arab Times shared this opinion and explained that ignorance is prevalent at many levels.

There are people who are not even aware that they have a health problem, “because many lifestyle diseases like hypertension and diabetes don’t present any symptoms. They are very quiet and may continue for years undetected.”

The general public must be informed about these facts and also on the gravity of these diseases. Diabetes and hypertension are important factors behind heart diseases that lead to cardiac arrest.

Further doctors noted that a second level of ignorance persists among people who are aware of the disease, but do not take proper treatment. A great number of patients visit the doctor once and never bother to follow up on the progress of the disease. Doctors say lifestyle diseases have to be monitored continuously, and diet, exercise and medicines have to be altered according to the progress of the disease. Patients who don’t do this are also at risk.

Many of the voters preferred to blame the fast-food culture that has taken root in all modern societies as the main culprit. 19 % of the voters wanted a ban or greater controls to be imposed on fast food outlets. Speaking to the Arab Times, respondents said that unhealthy foods should be looked upon in the same page as tobacco. These outlets have to be regulated through higher taxation or other strict measures. Junk food should be made less easily available to the people. “Probably, we can look at a cap on the number of fast food joints in a given street or locality.”

Making fitness a condition for job promotions was a creative solution that 6% of the voters sided with. Many people couldn’t agree with this notion because they felt that promotions should be based on merit and not unrelated factors like fitness.

Those who supported the view said that fitness makes a person more efficient at work. “An individual who is healthy will be able to keep his cool under pressure, and take better decisions. He will be able to work longer every day, and avoid absenteeism due to sicknesses.”

Building car parks away from homes and offices was a proposition that got 4 % support, while even fewer people entertained the idea of increasing air fares for people with higher body weight. “That would be unfair,” they said.


By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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