U.S. and UAE face common healthcare challenges

The U.S. healthcare system and its hospitals are one of the most advanced in the world, despite the current tumultuous changes taking place in the sector. In 2014, 48 per cent of U.S. healthcare spending came from private funds, with 28 per cent coming from households and 20 per cent coming from private businesses, according to a finding by the
Department for Professional Employees (DPE).

It is a well-known fact that American university-affiliated hospitals are in the lead when it comes to research and development. From developing important medications to life-saving procedures, the whole world has benefitted from American innovations. The U.S. government is known to offer grants, patents, and exclusivity to companies who are willing to develop drugs for uncommon diseases.

But the system has certain issues to tackle and one of the common challenges that both the U.S. and the UAE face when it comes to healthcare is fighting obesity. It a growing problem across the world, and a recent study found that more than two billion adults and children across the globe are overweight or obese and suffer severe health problems, with the U.S. leading in such cases.

Reportedly, combining children and adults, the U.S. showed the largest obesity increase, from an obesity rate of 26.5 per cent in 2015. Some of the common risks associated with obesity include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, among other life-threatening conditions.

Another study published in the journal Preventive Medicine, found that lack of exercise is contributing to the growing obesity epidemic, and the report found that activity levels of teenagers are shockingly comparable to that of 60-year-olds!

In the UAE too, over 36 per cent of children in the UAE are obese, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). Furthermore, according to a study by University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women in the UAE are obese, which clearly indicates that obesity is a advanced disease in the country and if not tackled early on, people are most likely to suffer debilitating health complications.

Dr. James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, U.S., told Khaleej Times: “In the UAE, one in five people has type II diabetes. This is because obesity has swept through the adult population, and now children. The startling high rate of obesity-related type II diabetes has implications for the health of the nation, because it is associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. Of even greater concern, however, is the fact that the rates of diabetes and high blood pressure are not levelling off in the UAE; the crisis is growing. The health consequences associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity are likely to continue to grow unless urgent action is taken. The UAE and the U.S. are on similar trajectories in this regard.”

Top tips to get fit

Dr. James Levine, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, highlights actions to prevent obesity:

– Be thoughtful about what you eat.

– Avoid second portions, decrease the amount of fat you eat, have scheduled meals and avoid snacks and sugary drinks.

– It is important to sit less and be more active. You don’t need to join a gym (unless you want to). Instead, make sure you walk every hour. Replace sitting times (such as watching TV) with walks and active socialising. Take a walk with a family member or friend, and ensure you take a 15-minute stroll after every meal.

Setting healthcare standards in the UAE

American Hospital Dubai: The hospital is a premium, multi-speciality healthcare facility offering the most advanced treatments for various types of cancers as well as other ailments. It has become the first accredited hospital of Mayo Clinic Care Network in the Middle East.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi: A branch of the U.S.-based healthcare institution, it offers a model of care, designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements. It provides patients in the region direct access to some of the world’s best healthcare providers.

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