MOH News
A Consultant in Family Medicine: Poor Sleep and Inactivity during Daytime in Ramadan Cause Overweight
23 July 2013
The MOH Media Information and Health Awareness Center has had an interview with Dr. Munira Ba-rajaa, a consultant physician in family and community medicine, through the service dubbed: “Hello Healthy Ramadan”, launched by the center for the tenth consecutive year to provide answers for the inquiries raised by the public, through the center's toll-free number: 8002494444, or via the MOH's account on Twitter: (@saudimoh). The center receives questions and inquiries every day from 1 to 3 p.m.
Dr. Ba-rajaa was quoted as saying, “Among the habits that the Gulf citizen has been accustomed to in Ramadan, is staying up till the dawn. Insomnia and sleep disorders affect the body, both physically and mentally, causing imbalance, lack of concentration, general exhaustion, weakness, inactivity and indolence. For younger people, wakefulness is even more harmful than adults, especially children, who need longer sleeping time. Lack of sleep, besides inactivity, lead to reduced metabolic activity, which in turn cause accumulation of fat and overweight.”
Besides, Dr. Ba-ragaa warned against “dehydration during daytime in Ramadan, as well as acute exhaustion, especially in the summer. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid exposure to the sun during fasting, whenever possible, along with drinking much fluid between the Iftar and Suhoor.”
“As for patients with chronic diseases,” she continued, “they will have to see their doctors prior to the outset of Ramadan to get an adequate quantity of drugs, and know how to take them in Ramadan, in terms of the proper dose and schedule, as well as asking as to whether it would be suitable for them to fast, and whether there is a medical excuse for not fasting. That's to be added to knowing how to behave whenever any emergency comes up while fasting.” 
It didn't escape Dr. Ba-ragaa's notice to reiterate the importance of moderation when coming to talk about physical activity, according to everyone's capacity, to evade exhaustion and ailment. “Besides,” she stressed, “travelers will have to ensure that they have an adequate quantity of the prescribed medicines, not to forget the healthy food, lest he should suffer from any intestinal or digestive disease.”
She went on to say, “Unfortunately, people are still overwhelmed by the social customs which preclude them from following the health awareness tips and guidelines provided either by their treating physicians, or the interviewees of such health-oriented shows, who underscore the importance of healthy food, exercise and sleeping well. Most people are still lured to the social and cultural customs, with their tendency to fatty, unhealthy foods, over-eating, physical inactivity and lack of sleep.”
Among the points highlighted by the consultant physician in family and community medicine, Dr. Ba-ragaa, is that “it takes some time, after Ramadan, to regularly get back to the normal diet. Consequently, during the Eid days, you'd better identify specific timings for your meals, and avoid much sweets and sugary dishes. That's because the stomach, being used to fasting, could be prone to gastric disorder as a result of abrupt over-eating. She recommended as light meals at first as possible, before the return to the normal dietary system. “As far as patients with chronic diseases are concerned,” she said, “they will have to know in which manner they should return to the normal dietary system, in order to modify the doses of medicines in a way that accord with the non-fasting dietary system.”

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