New insurance study indicates 62% of insured population is overweight


According to a recent study done by Oman Insurance Company on their healthcare members, 62% of insured population were found to be overweight. Different nationalities are more or less impacted by weight issues. While 66% of Indians and 70% of Pakistanis were found to be overweight, the percentage was comparatively lower for Filipinos at 54%.

The study complied by LivFit team in Oman Insurance Company analyzed more than 3,200 responses received as part of their free online health risk assessment. The overweight level was determined using Body Mass Index (BMI) as the indicator, which is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. People with a BMI between 25 and 30 are considered overweight and the ones with a BMI of 30 and above are obese.

Interestingly, within the male population, 67% were overweight compared to 59% overweight females. The link between physical activity and weight was reflected through the analysis. While 19% of the people in the healthy weight group said they don't exercise even for 2.5 hours in a week, the number rose to 27% for overweight population.

Dr. Yasser Khalifa, Head of Medical Insurance at Oman Insurance Company said, "Apart from lack of physical activity, common causes of obesity include poor diet and overall lifestyle choices." He added, "Our wellness program LivFit motivates people to start making positive lifestyle changes like walking for 20 minutes every day, stop intake of carbonated drinks or taking stairs from time to time."

Knowing that a person is overweight is the first step to take charge of the health condition. Unfortunately, majority of the overweight population is still unaware of their health condition as the survey revealed that only 20% of the overweight respondents have been diagnosed for this condition by the doctors. Being overweight is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases like stroke, diabetes and some cancers like kidney, breast, among others.

Studies indicate the rising number of people entering the obese group. Many organizations around the world continuously educate people on the impact of obesity on their health. The introduction of sin tax on soft drinks by UAE government last year was a major step to discourage people from consuming excess sugar through these drinks.

In the study, 43% of the overweight population felt good about themselves compared to 52% of the healthy people. Also, 62% of the overweight people said that they are satisfied with their lives compared to 72% of the healthy population. The numbers look positive for the overweight people but when seen in perspective of the healthy group, it points to the fact that being overweight can have an impact on self-image.

When asked if people are willing to change, 37% of the overweight group responded that they have already taken charge of their weight. Judging by the responses, people are keen to become healthier, but how many will actually take the necessary steps to do it. Commenting on this, Dr. Yasser said, "One of the unique features of LivFit is the Star Program which is designed for obese people serious about losing weight. We have teamed up with 2 leading gyms in UAE for the quality of their weight loss program, their expertise in nutrition and the dedication of their trainers. We reimburse a part of the program cost if member achieve the set goal."

LivFit and other programs offer ways to lose weight. It's now up to people to take charge of their health, use the programs to change their lifestyle and live fit. As a specialist health insurance provider the company offers a wide range of healthcare solutions and protects the wellbeing of 600,000 healthcare members in the region.

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