MOH News
MOH and Ministry of Education Launch Initiative to Reduce Obesity (Rashaqa) among School Students
13 February 2017
The Ministry of Health (MOH), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, launches today, Tuesday Feb. 21st, 2017, an initiative to reduce obesity rates among school students, dubbed: "Rashaqa", coinciding with the beginning of the second academic year. At the first stage, the initiative will be implemented in 1,000 schools in 6 regions, namely: Riyadh, Jeddah, Najran, Al-Jouf, Eastern Region and Makkah, under the sponsorship of Quafina and Quaker companies. The initiative, which targets 6,000 schools in 5 years, comes as one of the initiatives through which the MOH seeks to mobilize resources and joint efforts of the concerned national parties to ease the burden of obesity on citizen and community. Also, 20% of the Kingdoms' schools will be covered during the coming five years regarding promotion of the healthy lifestyle, including improvement of food habits and increasing physical activity of male and female students and their association with many non-communicable diseases such as: diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, hypertension, arthritis and others.
 
It is worth mentioning that the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that more than 1.4 billion adults are overweight, of these over half billion are obese world wide. And more than 40 million children under the age of 5, around the world, are overweight. According to the Results of the National Survey for the Health Information in 2013, the rate of obesity in the Kingdom reached 28.7% and the rate of overweight is 30.7% for the age group of 15 and older. One study indicated that the rate of school age students with overweight reached 23% and those with obesity amounted to 9.3%. Based on these information, the MOH, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, adopted an initiative to reduce obesity rates among school students (Rashaqa), by means of improving food habits, increasing physical activity for student (male and female) and raising awareness about the risks of obesity and ways of prevention, considering that the school is the right place for preventive interventions, in addition to taking advantage of the spread of primary health care centers inside housing areas in all region of the Kingdom and easy access to them and that all schools have connection with the nearest center. Also, the initiative aims to reduce obesity prevalence rates amongst children and adolescents in the Kingdom by 5% in selected schools, during the coming 5 years. 
 
  
It is to be noted that the initiative is of two phases, the first one target 1,000 schools in 6 regions, and the second one will be broadened to include all regions of the Kingdom, up to 6,000 schools by the year 2020, in line with the Kingdom Vision 2030, which focuses on raising the proportion of exercising to at least once a week from13% to 40%, as well as the National Transformation Program (NTP) which underlined the importance of curbing the spread of obesity.
 
   
 



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