With reporting by Mai Akkad
A three month long weight loss contest for obese teenagers in Qatar finishes this week, but contestants will have to wait until May to find out who has won.
Six teenage boys from independent schools have battled it out to win the ”Shrink project”, which was organized by charity Reach Out To Asia‘s Youth Service Club.
The contestant who has lost the most weight since the project’s launch on December the 1st last year will win first prize – a year’s gym membership.
The contest is a timely reminder of Qatar’s obesity crisis, which is putting many of the population at risk of developing diseases like diabetes and heart problems.
The contestants had to follow a diet of no more than 1800 calories per day, following a diet program which included three balanced meals and two healthy snacks.
They were also required to take part in training sessions several times a week with coach Adrian Dragos Nan, who led them in sessions of cardio, weights and swimming.
16 year old Ihssan Allah Shaheen from Pakistan (pictured above) managed to lose 21.6 kilograms on the program.
“I have a new lifestyle” he says. “My sleeping, eating and social habits are all changed… I am much more satisfied now.”
Other contestants report feeling more at ease when going out with friends, and note an improvement in their academic performance at school.
Contestants also had to learn debating and time-management at Qatar Foundation, skills which organisers argue help empower the contestants to understand their overeating habits, and encourage them to substitute these bad habits with good ones.
The winner of the contest will be announced on the 15th of May.
A new “Shrink” contest is planned for the end of this year.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Reach Out To Asia