Activities of the GCC Food Committee's sixth meeting kicked off on Tuesday with highlighting the importance of nutrition in maintaining healthy society and the prevention of malnutrition, chronic diseases, and non-communicable diseases.
GCC countries were keen in the past decades to keep pace with the economic thrive due to oil exports, which resulted in health, education, and development renaissance as well, Assistant Undersecretary for Technical Affairs at Health Ministry Dr. Qais Al-Dowairi said in a keynote speech during the opening of the meeting.
Al-Dowairi added GCC countries have made the health and safety of individuals and communities top development priorities, especially through provision of health care services for its citizens with a high degree of efficiency.
The official noted that GCC Health ministers' Executive Offices were also keen on the formation of this committee, to be the liaison authority among GCC countries, Al-Dowairi said, adding the committee was also in charge of setting up nutrition and therapeutic policies which aim at increasing the level of health efficiency to GCC citizens.
He also said that GCC states voluntarily committed themselves to implementing UN General Assembly Declaration, which was held in New York in September 2011, concerning the control of chronic non-communicable diseases and to achieve objectives of the Declaration by 2025.
Al-Dowairi explained that among the goals intended from that declaration was to reduce salt consumption by 30 percent, reduce high blood pressure rates by 25 percent, and prevent escalating the rates of obesity and diabetes.
The official pointed out the importance of such committee to coordinate efforts between the GCC countries and the exchange of expertise and provide technical support, including developing recommendations aimed at implementing policies in combating chronic diseases.
Al-Dowairi said the committee issued recommendations during their fifth meeting, which was held last June in Dubai, UAE, included an emphasis on the importance of creating and activating therapeutic nutrition and health institutions at the level of the Gulf Cooperation Council and preparation of guide for diet systems.