Muna Al Fuzai

The news of the death of the Egyptian lady Eman Abdul Ati occupied all headlines. She was known as the lady of half a ton. She passed away last Monday morning at a hospital in the United Arab Emirates after suffering for a long time. Her death sent us all a message from the grave.

Eman, 36, weighing half a ton, arrived in the UAE last April for treatment from Mumbai, India at the request of her family. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry transferred Eman to the UAE and although she seemed to improve and had lost some weight, the overall decline in health was too much for her heart and kidney. What a loss!. She was only 26 years of age.
The World Health Organization (WHO) often issues warnings about the dangers of obesity, but I wonder if anyone is really listening?

The majority of the world’s population lives in countries that are overweight and obese. Kuwait ranks among the first of the world’s obese nations. According to estimates by UNICEF, the percentage of obesity among children under the age of five years in Kuwait is 10 percent, while among adolescents is 50 percent!!!!

This high percentage means more deaths, diseases and eventually death at a young age. It is known that everyone agrees that the wrong eating habits and lack of exercise are the cause of weight gain for everyone but, it is strange that the same people spend much of their evenings and weekends eating in one of Kuwait’s thousands of restaurants or ordering delivery.
We are also subject to nearly six months of horrific heat where exercising outdoors is a near impossibility.

I know that obesity is not associated with a certain country, but today’s media makes people live in a strange ambivalence. Many children do not even know where food come from, how its grown or the relationship between food and weight gain.
I hope that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health in Kuwait will work towards greater awareness with direct intervention and media campaigns to stress the importance of healthy food and a healthy lifestyle for us all but especially for children. We need to get the snacks, sugar and excess processed food out of school cafeterias, where many sugary and salty meals are sold. It may be time to review the introduction of good school meals and revive school restaurants. We shouldn’t accept Eman’s death as just news. It is a message from the grave for us all.

By Muna Al-Fuzai