FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 excitement to boost healthy lifestyles
August 07 2021 11:36 PM
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 excitement to boost healthy lifestyles -Members of the research team.
Members of the research team

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) have highlighted the opportunity presented by FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to promote healthy lifestyles as a means to prevent, treat and reverse non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, heart disease, respiratory disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
The research points out that NCDs account for almost 70% of deaths in Qatar, and calls for an increased use of lifestyle medicine approaches to mitigate the risks posed by unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and tobacco use.
The paper, titled 'Scoring Lifestyle Medicine Goals with FIFA 2022 – An Opportunity to Strike Big!' and published in the 'American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine', notes that recreational soccer improves cardio-respiratory endurance, increases bone density and muscular strength, and enhances balance and flexibility.
Regular soccer playing is also known to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, as well as being an effective tool to fight childhood obesity when coupled with healthy nutrition.
The authors of the paper are WCM-Q dean Dr Javaid Sheikh, professor of population health sciences and vice dean for population health and lifestyle medicine Dr Ravinder Mamtani, associate professor of clinical population health sciences and assistant dean for the Institute for Population Health Dr Sohaila Cheema, and Dr Sathyanarayanan Doraiswamy.
Dr Mamtani explained that using the World Cup to boost participation in sports would be in line with Qatar’s existing efforts to promote healthy behaviours through Qatar National Sport Day, the country’s sustainability strategy, and campaigns such as Generation Amazing.
He said: “Qatar has already shown huge commitment to the promotion of healthy lifestyles with Qatar National Sport Day, by investing in world-class sports infrastructure at both elite and grassroots levels, and with the flagship Generation Amazing campaign.”
“This research highlights the unique opportunity the FIFA World Cup 2022 holds for Qatar to inspire people all over the region to embrace healthy, active lifestyles through participation in recreational soccer and other sports, and for the healthcare sector to incorporate lifestyle medicine approaches into conventional medicine,” Dr Mamtani added.
“Lifestyle medicine is an emergent discipline in healthcare that seeks to prevent, treat, and in some cases, reverse non-communicable diseases through lifestyle measures such as healthy diet, good nutrition practices, physical activity, stress management, healthy sleep habits, and tobacco cessation,” Dr Sheikh said. “This is in contrast with the curative focus of conventional healthcare approaches.”
The paper lists a number of recommendations, which include the establishment of clinical lifestyle medicine programmes, use of famous soccer stars to promote healthy lifestyles, promotion of soccer to middle-aged and older people as well as the youth, support lower impact forms of soccer for older people, and routine collection of sport-specific health data as part of national health surveys.



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