Can Technology Help the Obesity Trap?

by · December 7, 2011

Qatar hosts some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events with the Arab Games beginning on 9 December, having just hosted the Aspire4Sport Sport Congress and Exhibition, the 2011 AFT Asian Cup and winning to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

It also boasts the first ATP World Tennis Tournament of the year in January each year, the Tour of Qatar cycling event, and numerous football, rugby, gymnastics and athletics meets throughout the year, to name a few.

Yet there has been a vast amount of press in recent weeks surrounding Qatar and the health issues that it faces. References to the nation being one of the most obese in the world, with roughly half the adults and a third of the children suffering from this problem. Added to this, 17% of Qataris also battle with diabetes, resulting in further medical complications down the line.  The nations economic explosion, having recently become the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, has been blamed for changes in lifestyle and eating habits.

What has any of this got to do with technology? Being an avid exercise freak and always watching what I eat, I started wondering how much Qatar and our technologically advanced world offers online and I was quite amazed at just how much is out there to help to change an unhealthy lifestyle.

Lets take a look at all the great FREE APPS that are now available to download to assist in healthier lifestyle initiatives, here are the top ten from Mashable:

1., Lance Armstrong’s health and fitness website has this handy free app to track and look up your daily caloric, fat, carbohydrate and protein intake, Calorie Tracker.

2. The weight management app allows you to set goals, create a daily calorie budget, record food and exercise, and view graphs of your progress.

3. The 40·30·30 app allows you to ensure you are getting the right nutritional balance, it will really come in handy if you need to quickly calculate the percentage of carbs, protein, and fats in your meal.

4. The iPump app, has 4000+ images and videos and 400+ workouts, on top of that it has its own drag and drop workout builder for you to create your own workouts, all in one app. .

5. The BMI Calculator will give you key information for setting or optimizing your fitness goals. And it should work for all but the most muscular of bodies.

6. If music is your ideal motivator, try Nike BOOM. This app syncs your music to your workouts and throws in some audio-visual motivation from pro coaches and athletes along the way.

7. If your day could use some deep breathing and flexibility, try Pocket Yoga, which packs 145 poses in the palm of your hand. You can choose from three different practices, difficulty levels and durations for a total of 27 sessions. Namaste!

8. If you spend a lot of time on the road for work or pleasure, it means time for you to forget about your workout. CrossFit Travel comes to the rescue with an impressive list of exercises that can be done in a hotel room or other small spaces.

9. For more serious bodybuilders, this is the app for the muscle-bound. JEFIT Pro is a highly-rated app to help you track your progress, time your workouts, and beat your own records, all without the hassle of pen or paper.

10. For tracking just how much fat your body is burning, we suggest an app like Instant Heart Rate. It shows your heart rate measurements, a real-time PPG graph and your heart-rate history.

And what about the fun techie equipment you can buy to assist you with your new exercise and eating routine?

Exercise equipment is in abundance in every sport shop in the malls here, especially if you prefer to exercise at home.

Fun assistive equipment for exercise routines include the purchase of the Nike + iPod personal trainer, and how about including an odometer – check these little helpers out for walking or running, some have a GPS system to show routes you could run/walk and the distance and calories burnt, plus heart rate monitors to ensure you are staying within your correct heart rate limit for fat burning.


Qatar itself has plenty of online local programs and companies to assist those requiring help to start or continue with a healthy lifestyle program, these are some of the sites that I found:

Slim and Lite, I loved that I could check out my Body Mass Index (BMI) on this site as well as my Waist/Hip ratio, which can determine whether you have a higher risk of contracting chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, strokes, etc.  Plus much more….

The Art of Abundant Living, is an all encompassing website from Corporate programs to Individual coaching on health and lifestyle, nutrition, physical fitness, stress management (another cause of diabetes), work/life balance, and so on.

The Qatar Diabetes Association gives insight into the disease with community initiatives and workshops. With 17% of nationals, excluding the expat community which would increase that percentage. diabetes is an increasing epidemic which needs to be controlled. Having a mother that suffers from the disease, I have been exposed to the constant blood testing and injections that can occur up to 3 – 6 times a day. The bruising that can be found all over the fattier areas of the body, the constant swings in blood sugar levels, the numbness that occur in the feet and hands and having to be constantly aware of what to do if she collapses, it is a frightening disease and one we have to learn to control.

The Greenbox provides an online method of ordering fresh, convenient varieties of premium quality organic goat cheese, organic or regular fruit and vegetables and poultry. I liked the fact that you could buy organic foods via this site and that all fruit and vegetables that are imported are seasonal, so there is no “artificial manufacturing” occurring.

Qatar Living includes a section on Clinics and Health Centers in Qatar for quick reference.

The Government has also taken the initiative to enlighten communities on healthcare, here are some of their informative sites:

Qatar Embassy on Health

Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health

Hamad Medical Corporation


Exercising in Doha may have its limits in the summer months when wanting to enjoy the outdoors, but facilities now abound. Firstly, in the cooler winter months there is the Corniche, which allows for great walking and running, and they have included gym exercise machines close to the Olympic Oryx, which can be utilized.

Hotel Health and Fitness Centers are in abundance with separate facilities and classes for both men and women, schedules are easily accessible online with yearly membership, see below for a few options:

Sharq Village and Spa

The Ritz Carlton Hotel

Sheraton Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel

The Grand Hyatt


Private gym membership is also available more readily in Doha now:

Aspire Active

Fitness First

Yama Yoga

Villagio Gym at Villagio Mall, unfortunately no website yet which was disappointing


It just takes time to look and find this information online, but it is all there for the picking and if you are concerned about your weight and ensuring that you stay fit and healthy take the time to get to grips with what your body needs and avoid the obesity and diabetes trap.

When it comes to staying healthy, online facilities and techie equipment have made our lives so much easier. So as a nation, lets get those couch potato bodies into the zumba pumping, yoga stretching, body rocking, dumbbell pushing swing of things.

Post By Denise Mc Manus (26 Posts)


Discussion1 Comment

  1. Denise Mc Manus says:

    Positive steps towards getting the nation moving: Qatar will observe ‘National Sports Day’ in February every year, it was announced by the Heir Apparent.

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