An article in The National (18 May 2008) entitled ‘Public Health Risk as Diet and Lack of Sun Take Toll’, has important implications for people living in the UAE.
The article by Melanie Swan says:
“A vitamin deficiency linked to cancer and organ failure has been discovered in the majority of patients undergoing general health screening at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.”
“The centre is launching a major education programme after discovering that 95 per cent of its female Emirati patients and 50 per cent of male nationals suffered from a lack of vitamin D, which is usually caused by poor diet or a lack of exposure to sunlight.”
“Doctors are urging people to spend short periods of time outdoors while partially uncovered – a recommendation that one doctor acknowledges is culturally sensitive in a region where many woman wear the abaya.”
The problem is caused not only by the cultural conditioning to cover up but by widespread medical advice to get out of the sun’s glare in an effort to stave off skin cancer. Furthermore at this time of the year in the UAE the mercury climbs so high that people move from their air-conditioned house to their air-conditioned car (with tinted windows) to the air-conditioned mall, thus escaping the light as well as the heat.
To read the full article, follow this link: The National, 18 May 2008.
Dr. Geoff Pound
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