• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2012

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:2384
Area covered:National
References:WHO STEPS Qatar 2012 Fact Sheet, available at https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/steps/Qatar_FactSheet_2012.pdf (last accessed 19.10.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2003

Survey type:Measured
Age:25-65
Sample size:1208
Area covered:Sub National
References:Bener A, Al-Suwaidi J, Al-Jaber K, Al-Marri S, Dagash M and Elbagi IEA. (2004). The prevalence of hypertension and its associated risk factors in a newly developed country. Saudi Medical Journal, 25(7): 918 - 922.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-19
Sample size:168011
Area covered:National
References:M. Al-Thani, A. Al-Thani, S. Alyafei, W. Al-Chetachi, S.E. Khalifa, A. Ahmed, A. Ahmad, B. Vinodson, H. Akram, The prevalence and characteristics of overweight and obesity among students in Qatar. Public Health(2018);160:143-149 ISSN 0033-3506
Notes:WHO Cut Off
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2003-2004

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
Sample size:3923
Area covered:National
References:Bener A. (2006). Prevalence of obesity, overweight and underweight in Qatari adolescents. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 27(1): 39 - 45.
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2012

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:2384
Area covered:National
References:WHO STEPS Qatar 2012 Fact Sheet, available at https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/steps/Qatar_FactSheet_2012.pdf (last accessed 19.10.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:168011
Area covered:National
References:M. Al-Thani, A. Al-Thani, S. Alyafei, W. Al-Chetachi, S.E. Khalifa, A. Ahmed, A. Ahmad, B. Vinodson, H. Akram, The prevalence and characteristics of overweight and obesity among students in Qatar. Public Health;160:143-149 ISSN 0033-3506
Notes:WHO Cut Off
Cutoffs:WHO

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Average daily frequency of carbonated soft drink consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption

Children, 2008-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Global School-based Student Health Surveys. Beal et al (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption (% less-than-daily fruit consumption)

Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption

Children, 2008-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption (% less-than-daily vegetable consumption)

Average weekly frequency of fast food consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: High Income

Health systems summary

Qatar has a national health insurance scheme for its citizens, with Hamad Medical Corporation being the main healthcare provider in the country. Citizens and residents apply for a health card to access Hamad Medical Corporation’s healthcare facilities or hospitals for free or at a nominal cost. Consultations and non-emergency treatments are often paid for out-of-pocket, but these are significantly subsidised. Cardholders are also eligible for subsidised medications when prescriptions are filled at government-run pharmacies. Expatriates are required to have either employer-provided health insurance or private insurance.

The government is said to be moving towards private healthcare funding mechanisms such as insurance for all its citizens, but this is not yet in place.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?Yes
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Some progress
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?Yes
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?No
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Government

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Lack of training for HCP's and lack of trained HCP's
  • Lack of treatment facilities (inc waiting list)
  • Lack of MDT's
  • Poor availability of all pharmaceutical treatments
  • Poor health literacy & behaviour
  • Food cost & availability
  • Obesity not recognised as a disease

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Stakeholders reported that the Qatari government have been proactive in educating the population on appropriate diet and lifestyle. Still, it is felt that given the high prevalence of obesity in Qatar, more prevention efforts are needed.

In the public system, it has been suggested that patients enter the system in one of two ways. Either they are diagnosed with obesity during a routine assessment or they are advised to address their obesity because of a comorbidity e.g. sleep apnoea or infertility. At first, they may be sent to a wellness centre or lifestyle clinic where there are dieticians, but later those that meet the criteria are generally referred to the National Obesity Treatment Centre. Patients are eligible for general referral at BMI ≥ 30 kg/m², and bariatric referral at BMI ≥ 40 kg/m² or BMI ≥ 35 kg/m² + co-morbidities (there is an exception for patients with BMI ≥ 32 kg/m² with severe uncontrolled diabetes). It appears that the government delivers a range of treatment at a subsidised cost for Qatari nationals, but like much of the region, surgical intervention is very popular.

For those that use the private sector or who have insurance, stakeholders report that they go straight to the private hospital without referral.

The health system is said to lack suitably trained specialists such as dieticians, physicians and psychologists. At present, there is considered to be limited appropriate training available in Qatar, all training available is delivered by the tertiary obesity centre. There is a bariatric medicine fellowship, but intake is small. There is also a one-day obesity management programme for primary healthcare physicians and another for nurses. One for dieticians is being currently developed.

There are government guidelines for treatment of adults living with obesity.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 3 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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Actions

The Management of Obesity in Adults

The purpose of this guideline is to define the appropriate diagnosis and management of obesity in adults._x000D__x000D_ The objective is to guide the appropriate investigation, prescribing and referral of patients presenting to_x000D__x000D_ provider organisations in Qatar. It is intended that the guideline will be used primarily by healthcare_x000D__x000D_ professionals in primary care and outpatient settings.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2020-2022
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:Ministry of Public Health Qatar
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Ministry of Public Health Qatar. National Clinical Guideline: The Management of Obesity in Adults (2019).

National Clinical Guideline: The Management of Obesity in Adults

The purpose of this guideline is to define the appropriate diagnosis and management of obesity in adults. The objective is to guide the appropriate investigation, prescribing and referral of patients presenting to provider organisations in Qatar. It is intended that the guideline will be used primarily by healthcare professionals in primary care and outpatient settings.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2019 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:State of Qatar Ministry of Public Health.
Find out more:www.moph.gov.qa
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Ministry of Public Health Qatar. National Clinical Guideline: The Management of Obesity in Adults (2019).

National Health Strategy 2018-2022

Aims to create a mentally and physically healthy population.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Evidence of NCD strategy
Year(s):2018-2022
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:State of Qatar Ministry of Public Health
Find out more:www.moph.gov.qa
Linked document:Download linked document
References:State of Qatar Ministry of Public Health. National Health Strategy 2018-2022. Available from: https://www.moph.gov.qa/HSF/Documents/short%20report%20eng%2020.03.2018.pdf. [Accessed 17 January 2019].

Qatar Excise Tax - soft & energy drink

Carbonated drinks (non-flavoured aerated water excluded) 50% tax rateEnergy drinks 100% tax rate

Categories:Taxation/Subsidies on Food or Beverages or law relating to public health
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:State of Qatar, General tax authority
Find out more:gta.gov.qa

Food and Beverage Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities

Restrictions on foods sold in café's and vending machines in healthcare facilities

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Organisation:Healthcare Facilities Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Aspetar hospital, and Sidra Medical and Research Center
Find out more:thepeninsulaqatar.com
References:Link currently unavailable, link to news article available

Clinical Guidelines for the State of Qatar for the management of obesity in adults

Outlines the appropriate diagnosis and management of obesity in adults, ensuring appropriate referal, prescriptions and investigation by healthcare professionals.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2016 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:State of Qatar Ministry of Public Health.
Find out more:www.moph.gov.qa
Linked document:Download linked document
References:State of Qatar Ministry of Public Health. Clinical Guidelines for the State of Qatar - The management of obesity in adults. Available from: https://www.moph.gov.qa/health-strategies/Documents/Guidelines/MOPH%20Guideline%20-%20Obesity%20in%20adults%20v2-1%20FINAL.pdf. [Last Accessed 17th January 2019].

Qatar Dietary Guidelines

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2015 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:National Dietary Guidelines Task Force
Linked document:Download linked document
References:The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/qatar/en/ (last accessed 2 March 2016)

Your Health First - Sahtak Awalan

A multi-media, multi-generational, bilingual health education campaign to improve the populations health and reduce prevalence of obesity.

Categories (partial):Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2015 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Public Health
Find out more:sahtakawalan.com
Linked document:Download linked document

Active Qatar Campaign

The campaign includes a series of programmes aimed at making sport activities and healthy food habits an integral part of daily lifestyles in order to help reduce obesity and the problems associated with being overweight in Qatar. It also includes specially targeted efforts for priority groups that are particularly vulnerable to inactivity-related diseases, such as people with disabilities, women, the elderly,_x000D__x000D_ and people with clinical conditions.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2014 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC)
Find out more:www.olympic.qa

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