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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-27

RASHAKA Program: A collaborative initiative between Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to control childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia

1 Ministry of Health, General Directorate for the Prevention of Genetic and Chronic Diseases, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia
2 General Directorate for the Prevention of Genetic and Chronic Diseases, Asst. Deputy of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ahmed J Al Eid
Director of Screening and Early Detection Supervisory committee at Saudi Council of Health Services, Deputy Director for Chronic & Non-Communicable Diseases, Coordinator of Obesity Control Program, Coordinator of Diet and Physical Activity Program, General Directorate for the Prevention of Genetic and Chronic Diseases, Eastern Province, Ministry of Health
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjo.sjo_5_17

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The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the prevalence of childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia and discuss the effectiveness of school-based intervention. The efforts of the Rashaka Initiative in controlling childhood obesity are also described. Obesity is defined as excessive or abnormal fat accumulation in the body as a result of an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. Childhood obesity has a negative impact on health and may lead to high cholesterol, hypertension, fatty liver, diabetes, and sleep apnea. As childhood obesity has a strong likelihood to continue into adulthood, it can contribute to noncommunicable diseases later in life. According to the latest data, the percentage of obese children between 5 and 18 years was found to be 11.3%. To promote a healthy lifestyle, and prevent and control obesity in Saudi population, the Ministry of Health established two programs through the primary healthcare center: (1) Diet and Physical Activity Program and (2) Obesity Control Program. To control obesity among school children in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Ministry of Education launched “RASHAKA Initiative”. This initiative aims to promote a healthy lifestyle by improving dietary behavior, increasing physical activity, and increasing the awareness of obesity risks. It also aims to identify methods of prevention as schools are appropriate institutions for preventive interventions.

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