Saudi health Ministry launches 8,000 steps campaign

The campaign, #walk30, will last for four months. (SPA/File photo)
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Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi health Ministry launches 8,000 steps campaign

  • Aims to improve public health, boost life expectancy

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Health has launched a national walking campaign to promote exercise in the Kingdom.

The campaign, #walk30, will last for four months and is in its first stage.

The ministry’s director general of marketing and awareness, Anas Al-Hamid, said that many schools and universities were taking part in the campaign, and that there was an app to calculate the number of steps taken. There will also be an event in all Saudi regions to coincide with National Day for Walking, scheduled for March 5, he added.

A walking challenge was one of the campaign’s many activities, he said, with participants trying to walk no fewer than 8,000 steps. Winners would be rewarded at the end of the competition and those interested were encouraged to download the app and register. 

Certified personal trainer Atif Adnan Bashawri, who owns a fitness studio, told Arab News: “I deal with people on a daily basis and the most common question is ‘How can I increase my fitness level?’ One of the best pieces of advice I always give my clients is to walk for at least 25 to 30 minutes three times a week.”

FASTFACTS

• The walking campaign is part of the ministry’s goals to achieve targets in the Vision 2030 reform plan aimed at improving public health and boosting life expectancy from 74 to 80 years.

• The reform plan also seeks to increase the number of people exercising at least once a week from 13 percent of the population to 40 percent.

“Walking for only 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Also it is the easiest way to relieve stress.”

Bashawri thanked the ministry for paying attention to such an important matter, remarking that obesity was increasing among adults and children.

In its 2018 report about people who work out and exercise, the General Authority for Statistics revealed that 54.05 percent of people in the Kingdom walked and 21.49 percent used apps while exercising. The report also showed that 18.99 percent of Saudis aged 15 and above practiced sports while 13.88 percent of non-Saudis exercised.

Last April a health official in the Kingdom, Abdulrahman Al-Sheikh, said that 40 percent of Saudis were obese. 

Al-Sheikh, who is a diabetes and endocrinology consultant and chairman of the Saudi Society for Diabetes, told Arab News that there were 3.8 million diabetics in the country, representing almost 19 percent of the adult population, and that obesity was a major issue in Saudi society.


King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

Updated 30 March 2020

King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

  • Royal order applicable to government and private health facilities

RIYADH: King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom's health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced the king’s order at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday and said it included citizens and residents - even those in violation of residency laws.

Al-Rabiah said the royal order was borne out of the king’s keenness to put the health of citizens and residents first and to ensure the safety of all.

The number of virus victims in Saudi Arabia reached 1,453 on Monday, with 8 confirmed deaths and 115 recoveries.

The president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, thanked King Salman for the directive.

“This reflects the human and moral approach the Kingdom is adopting in dealing with this pandemic,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia “is keen to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment according to the highest medical standards without discrimination.”

He added: “This gives the most striking example in preserving human rights and dignity as everyone, whether citizen or resident, should enjoy health and safety, including violators of the residency system.”

This move, he said, clearly reflects the Kingdom's approach based on respecting and promoting human rights on the ground. 

“This shows that the most valuable asset for Saudi Arabia is the human being, thereby guaranteeing a decent and healthy living, the foremost right of everyone.”