15 Apr 2018 – 9:36

Over 2,000 patients sought weight loss support at HMC in 2017

The Peninsula

Doha: Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Department of Dietetics and Nutrition received more than 2,000 patients last year seeking weight loss support. The Department offers a variety of services, including a medically-supervised weight loss program for patients seeking to achieve a healthier lifestyle and weight.


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Dr Yousuf Al Maslamani (pictured), Medical Director at Hamad General Hospital, says many people view weight loss surgery as the solution to obesity but he cautions it isn’t always the best option.


“Obesity is one of the major public health problems facing our population and can leave a person susceptible to cardiovascular and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.

“More than this, it can severely damage a person’s quality of life, physically and emotionally, so it is not difficult to understand why many patients seek out weight loss surgery. However, surgery is not always the best solution and many patients have had success with non-surgical options,” said Dr Al Maslamani.

Bariatric surgery is the term used to refer to a series of weight loss procedures that reduce an individual’s food intake by decreasing the size of their stomach, causing them to lose weight. The procedures have become increasingly popular in recent years but Dr Al Maslamani says lifestyle changes that incorporate healthy eating and physical activity can allow many patients to lose weight without having to resort to surgery. He cited the now concluded Smart Weight program as an example.

In 2015, HMC and Qatar University launched a weight management program, Smart Weight, aimed at reducing the incidence of obesity in Qatar.   Noora Al Jaffali, Head Dietitian at HMC’s Department of Dietetics and Nutrition says the program, which was funded by Qatar’s Academic Health System, targeted patients who could benefit from professional weight loss support and advice.

She says the main objective was for participants to lose 10 percent of their body weight over the course of the six-month program.

“The program included 500 participants, aged between 18 and 65. Group participants all had a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30. The group was led by a team of healthcare professionals from HMC’s Department of Dietetics and Nutrition and faculty and student volunteers from Qatar University’s human nutrition program.

Through simple lifestyle modifications, most program participants were able to lose more than 10% of their body weight. The overall success rate for the program was 90 percent,” said Al Jaffali. She added that although the program has now ended, HMC’s Department of Dietetics and Nutrition offers patients an individualized approach to weight loss, which includes medical, nutritional, behavioral, and fitness counseling and support.

“We hold two clinics per day. Part of our function at the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition is to help patients make dietary and lifestyle changes. Our programs are calorie based and follow the Qatar Dietary Guidelines developed by the Ministry of Public Health.

“In keeping with the Guidelines, we focus on nutritional planning and physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. Individual face-to-face counseling is a major part of what we do. To be successful it is important that each plan is tailored to the needs of each patient and includes reasonable goals, planning for obstacles, and managing stress,” said Al Jaffali.