Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Corporate Department of Dietetics and Nutrition organised recently a workshop on the Qatar Dietary Guidelines for clinical dietetics co-ordinators and food service supervisors. More than 60 specialists from HMC attended the workshop held at Bayt Al Dhiyafah.
The Qatar Dietary Guidelines were introduced by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in 2015 as a fundamental building block that supports and fosters healthy lifestyle behaviours. They aim to assist the public in choosing foods that will help them stay healthy, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce disease.
The guidelines include recommendations about the type and quantity of food to eat and offers advice about which foods and beverages should be limited, such as salt, sugar, and added fats and oils. They also contain information on safe food handling and preparation.
Reem al-Saadi, director of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at HMC, said the workshop was organised as part of the completion of the work plan to implement the Guidelines across a variety of sectors in the country, including the health sector. She said one of the main objectives of the workshop was to emphasise the link between proper nutrition and the prevention and treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
“These guidelines are designed for all members of the adult community between the ages of 18 and 64 years. The document provides adult members of the community with recommendations on healthy eating and physical activity. It is worth noting that these guidelines are targeted at healthy adults without any underlining medical conditions. Those requiring special diets or who have a medical condition may need to meet with a dietitian or other health professional for more guidance,” said al-Saadi.
Al-Saadi noted the importance of eating a diet rich in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. She said that many research studies support eating a whole food, plant-based diet as a strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. While meat and fish contribute to a healthy diet, she said moderation is key and she noted the importance of making healthy choices such as selecting whole wheat bread and grains in place of white bread, white rice, and pasta made from white flour.
Since 2015, the MoPH has held a number of training workshops for nutrition specialists from various hospitals in the country, including a Train the Trainer programme.