Posted on November 02, 2018

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) at Qatar University (QU) launched an awareness campaign entitled "Smart Start" to help create an effective, physically and psychologically healthy society by focusing on developing child healthcare strategies and mechanisms.

The campaign targets an essential part of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which is based on four pillars, including improving the health of Qatari society and providing a high-quality preventative system that provides the current and next generation a healthy foundation. The CHS campaign aims to achieve its goals by raising awareness about the significant role of good nutrition, physical activity and healthcare in the early years of the child. The campaign sets out its goals by addressing the growing social and behavioral problems leading to obesity in childhood, which undermine the foundations of development and impede the process of achieving the country's sustainable welfare.

The “Smart Start” campaign team believe strongly in the importance of human capital, which is the primary driver in Qatar's development. The strategic vision of the country is focused on the human as being the first pillar for progress and development. Last April, HE Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi cited Qatar as the first Arab country in the Human Development Index (HDI).

In addition, "Smart Start" campaign aims at providing nutritional and physical activities for young people, especially at the primary stage. The campaign is based on an ultra-modern mechanism that uses methods to deepen community awareness in unique and pioneering ways in the field of health awareness. Dr. Asma Al Thani, Dean of the CHS comments on the campaign saying that Qatar deserves the best of its citizens and seeks to create an effective and vibrant society that continues to develop and grow. She notes that the goal is to address the social customs that lead to childhood obesity. QU supports the national strategy to create a society led by healthy young people.

Human Nutrition Department Head, Dr. Tahra El-Obeid at QU’s CHS says, "Childhood is one of the best stages to address the social factors leading to high rates of obesity. During this period, success rates are higher than those of other age groups.” As noted by Dr. Tahra El-Obeid, obesity is the main issue of childhood and subsequently the main concern of specialists and researchers in the field of health science. This disease is relevant and important because it has a direct and long-term effect on the health and future of children, and thus on the country.

Al-Jazi Al-Qahtani, Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Human Nutrition in QU’s CHS, expressed her hope that the "Smart Start" campaign will contribute to strengthening the pillars of the national strategy aimed at providing a healthy environment that produces a physically healthy population. She stresses that adequate childcare means a future led by a national workforce with maximum efficiency and production. She notes that the "Smart Start" campaign is a monthly campaign that includes primary government and private schools. The campaign relies on youth to instill knowledge on proper eating habits and enhance physical activity. "The campaign led by the CHS is the culmination of a national effort that seeks to take part in driving the human development locomotive…in a clear and remarkable way," says Al-Jazi.

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