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Over 60% women ‘not concerned’ about osteoporosis

A possible onset of a bone disease is looming, giving residents in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East and Africa (Mea) another reason to take a closer look at their lifestyle, go for modified nutrition habits and engage in more physical activities.

This is the gist of two studies on osteoporosis, the first known as the “Lifestyle for Lifelong Bones,” which was conducted in the UAE. The findings were released to the media on Tuesday, ahead of the “First Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting” taking place on Wednesday in Dubai with Acting Health Minister Abdul Rahman Al Owais as a special guest.

As the first research study was carried out by the regional office of the New Zealand-based multinational dairy cooperative Fonterra, the second one, known as the “Audit Report,” will be launched on Saturday in the Emirate by the non-government organisation International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF).

The “Lifestyle for Lifelong Bones” research study was conducted between August and September this year by Fonterra as part of its corporate social responsibility to increase UAE’s residents knowledge on the disease that leads to increased risk of fractures due to deteriorating bone mineral density.

Following are the highlights of the study, which covered over 300 professional women and housewives (Emirati and expatriate Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Filipinos) between the ages of 21 and 49 across the UAE.

• Over 40 per cent receive less than 10 minutes of sun a day.

• Nearly 20 per cent receive no sunlight exposure at all.

• Sixty per cent of the women in Sharjah do not get exposed to the sun at all.

• More than 50 per cent of Arabs receive less than 10 minutes sun exposure a day or none at all.

• Sixty per cent take one hour of exercise or less per week.

• Thirty-one per cent do not take any exercise.

• Forty-four percent of Arabs do not do any weekly exercise.

• Twenty-six per cent of Arabs do one hour or less of exercise per week.

• One-third of Asians do one hour exercise or less per week.

• Twenty-five per cent of Asians do not take any exercise.

• Sixty-one per cent had zero to moderate concern about osteoporosis.

• Over 55 per cent of women would only think about bone health from age 30 onwards.

Also, results of the Anlene Bone Health Check Programme were announced at the press conference. The programme initiated from Fonterra, scanned the right foot of 43,000 women in the UAE and 124,000 in the other Gulf countries in the last two years.

The results showed that 40 per cent of the women who underwent foot scanning in the past two years, are at high risk of osteoporosis, said Fonterra Mea marketing director Kamal Gupta.

Among the surveyed, the most concerned about the disease were Filipinas “who have applied in the UAE what they know,” Fonterra Mea nutritionist-senior health platform manager Joanne Todd said. 

He attributed this to their culture and lifestyle. 

Nevertheless, like triathlete Jessica Robertson, Todd said there is no reason for UAE residents not to engage in physical activities or not to incorporate walking since this can be done even with a busy schedule.

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