The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has launched the third phase of its awareness-raising campaign “Your Health Comes First” under the slogan “Beat the habit...Fight Extra Sugar”. The campaign aims to raise the level of awareness among members of the society about the health risks associated with drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, as these beverages are consumed in large quantities because of their availability, and the marketing effect. The campaign will take place until January 2018.
The aim of the campaign is twofold: to raise awareness about the amounts of sugar in sweetened beverages, and the chronic diseases associated with consuming large amounts of sugar. Various media outlets are utilized to spread the campaign messages such as TV, radio, outdoor hoarding, and social media to establish interactive platforms and reach various segments of the society. The campaign includes also games on its social media accounts. It aims to shed light on the facts about sugar-sweetened beverages.
Dr. Fadila Mohamed Sherif, Director of Health Education and Promotion Department, said that the MOHAP pays a great attention to the topic of health awareness, in specific, the health risks associated with overconsumption of sugar, in order to promote the health of the members of the society, and prevent obesity and its associated health problems. This campaign is considered part of the National Initiative that aims at promoting a healthy lifestyle, and it is incongruent with the UAE Vision 2021 of achieving world-class healthcare and providing universal health coverage.
Nouf Khamis, Deputy Manager- Health Education and Promotion Department, explained that the sweetened drinks theme was chosen as it contains large amount of sugar that can exceed the daily requirement of added sugar; this, in turn, affects daily caloric intake, and may result in weight gain and other related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In this campaign, we aim to correct misconceptions about sweetened beverages, for example, they are free of added sugar, clarify that sugar can be hidden in many beverages with different names. In addition, we hope through this campaign to reduce the consumption of sugar amongst individuals in order to adhere to the recommendations.