University of Sharjah, UAE
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: Primary Health Care
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is facing two critical situations: high incidence of obesity and chronic diseases and suboptimal infant feeding practices as reported by the Ministry of Health in the UAE. So, early identification of risk factors of chronic diseases is important for developing early intervention strategies to optimize health care for individuals and communities. A growing body of literature shows that the period of the first 1,000 days is a critical window of opportunity for intervention and prevention of chronic diseases, through developmental programming. So, optimal breastfeeding of children under two years of age has the greatest potential for a more positive impact on child survival than all preventive interventions. WHO reported that promotion of breastfeeding may contribute to the prevention of childhood obesity. In addition, suboptimal complementary feeding practices, including timing of introduction of complementary foods and the type of foods introduced, have been associated with an increased risk of adulthood obesity and comorbidities. Improving exclusive breastfeeding rates and complimentary practices may be considered as a potential component of the primary public health strategy to decrease health risks and problems in the UAE, a country with high prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases and will contribute to the improvement of the overall health status in the UAE.