With reporting from Heba Fahmy
A new government campaign to encourage people in Qatar to become more active is employing guilt to get its message across.
This month, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has launched videos, billboards and newspaper ads showing families in crisis.
In them, young children try to get their parents to play with them, but both mother and father are too tired and opt to stay on the couch and watch TV, eating snacks.
Over the course of the 48-second clip, the parents quickly gain weight and become increasingly exhausted and unhappy with their appearance and health.
The video ends with the message, “Stay with your family, be active…our future is in our health.”
Other ads emphasize personal responsibility:
In the above newspaper advertisement, residents are urged not to their “laziness” get in the way of their health.
The prevalence of obesity and related illnesses such as diabetes in Qatar has become a huge concern for health officials.
Some 42.3 percent of adults in Qatar are obese – the highest rate in the Gulf (which has an average of 36.7 percent).
Because many people are living longer but with more costly illnesses such as diabetes, Qatar is expecting to be contending with a larger, older and sicker population in the coming years, according to analysts.
The nation’s health spending is thus projected to double to US$8.8 billion by 2020, Alpen Capital’s GCC Healthcare Industry report 2016 said last month.