Obesity amongst children is a cause of concern in the UAE. Statistics published by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi in 2014 showed 14 per cent of pupils across the emirate's schools were overweight, while 15 per cent of them suffered from obesity.
National Program for Government Communication launched 2021 Healthy Children initiative to fight obesity among children. The UAE National Agenda aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity amongst children from 13.17 per cent (as of 2014) to 12 percent by the year 2021.
All schools and their food suppliers in the UAE must follow the healthy nutritional guidelines issued by the authorities concerned, to ensure providing healthy foods for schoolchildren.
Department of Health in Abu Dhabi launched Schools for health, a health programme focussing on the all-round health of schoolchildren.
Health check-up for new-borns
In addition, as a special measure to protect infants, Department of Health in Abu Dhabi introduced the Enaya screening programme that involves checking new-borns for rare conditions. The screening involves:
- Examination by the doctor
- Hearing screening
- Congenital heart disease screening
- Heel prick/bloodspot test.
Ministry of Health and Prevention provides early detection services for neonatal diseases. The diseases that are examined include 40 genetic diseases in accordance with international standards. Some of these are:
Sickle cell anemia
Biotin deficiency disease
Diseases of amino acids, organic and fatty (mass spectrometer)
Other tests such as cardiac examination to detect critical congenital deformities of the heart and early screening of hearing disorders for newborns to detect hereditary deafness.
Department of Health in Abu Dhabi also prepares and publicises vaccination schedules for infants and children.
Read the UAE's efforts to forbid children from both active and passive smoking.
Updated on 10 Mar 2019