Expats claim UAE is diet-proof

exercise-UAEExercise in the United Arab Emirates: If more people did it, maybe the UAE wouldn’t be the 18th fattest country in the world. Photo by The National.

With the United Arab Emirates boasting one of the world’s highest obesity rates, expatriates working there complain that their adopted country is packing on their pounds. Abu Dhabi-based The National reports that nearly 40 percent of women and 25 percent of men in the UAE are obese.

Expats with growing waistlines told The National that their extra tire came from spending too much time in the car, as investment banker JD said:

“It is easy to put on weight here, especially since people have to drive to wherever they want to get to, and because there is a culture of big meals in the country.”

Another reason cited was the sedentary lifestyle, coupled with eating lots of take-out.

However, the UAE should take heart. Even though the World Health Organization ranked them 18th on the list of the world’s fattest countries, there are worse places to try to diet in the Middle East. According to GlobalPost, Egypt is the fifth-fattest country in the world, closely followed by Israel, number 8. In fact, this piece reminded me of a study we looked at earlier this year, in which Israeli kids are getting fatter and fatter, often due to suburban living.

As for the foreigners whining about getting chunky, local doctors don’t buy it, the National reports. Endocrinologist Bachar Afandi told the paper “it doesn’t matter what country you are in:

“I have too many patients with exercise machines at home and they don’t exercise, even in the best weather. They join all kinds of fitness clubs and still don’t exercise,” he said.

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