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Saudi calls for stricter fast food rules to combat obesity problem
January 9, 2016, 4:05 pm

The Scientific and Educational Committee of the Saudi Diabetes and Endocrine Association (SDEA) has called for the introduction of 10 amendments to the ingredients and specifications of fast foods in the Kingdom. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently placed Saudi Arabia in third position, after Qatar and Kuwait, in its list of countries around the world with the highest rates of obesity.

"About 71 percent of deaths in the Kingdom are caused by diabetes, obesity and heart ailments. In addition, these diseases also cause disability," Kamil Salama, SDEA's secretary-general, said, reports Arab News. The requested changes include the reduction of meat fats to 20 percent in all fast foods; chicken burgers to be made only after removing the skin and without added salt; reducing the fat content of cheese to 10-20 percent, using grilling and baking instead of frying; and offering salads with meals and fresh juices instead of sodas, according to the newspaper.

The committee also called for a reduction in the use of hydrogenated fats and the inclusion of calorie counts on the packaging of fast food meals. The committee has also urged hotels introduce low-fat meals on their menus.

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