Qatar workplaces to have gyms

October 4, 2011

In-house gyms in workplaces may soon become a reality in Qatar after employers have been encouraged by health authorities to provide their staff with opportunities for physical exercise.

A senior official of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) said that companies in the public and private sectors have been asked to implement the proposal in line with the five-year national strategy for nutrition and physical activity (2011- 2016), Qatari daily The Peninsula reported on Tuesday.

The decisions are part of a national campaign launched by Qatar to promote a healthy lifestyle among nationals as well as residents, the official said.

According to the data available, over 50 percent of the population in the country does not engage in any regular physical activity. A special committee to oversee implementation of the national strategy has been set up.

“All employers should provide opportunities for physical exercise to their staff at the workplace or they should support the staff to avail of such facilities outside,” Shaikha Ghanoud Bint Mohammad Al Thani, director of Health Promotion and Non-communicable diseases department at SCH, said.

The SCH also plans to set up a national database on diseases related to occupational health and conduct a nationwide survey on chronic and non-communicable diseases, said the official.

According to statistics given in the national strategy document, Qatar has the second highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Seventy-one per cent of all residents are overweight, while the rate is 75 among Qataris. Thirty-two percent of all residents are obese or morbidly obese. The rate goes up to 40 among Qataris.

The prevalence of childhood obesity is also high with 28 percent of Qatari children being overweight. Chronic diseases are a major cause of death in Qatar, accounting for 47 per cent of classified deaths in 2008. The occurrence of diabetes among Qataris is 16.7 per cent, the fourth highest rate in the world.

The global average is estimated at 6.4 per cent. The main factors leading to chronic disease have been identified as a change in dietary patterns (increased fast-food consumption) coupled with a sedentary lifestyle (over 50 per cent of the population do not engage in any regular physical activity), the daily said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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