The Shocking Truth: The UAE will not meet 2025 WHO Adult Obesity Targets due to exacerbated rate of post-pandemic weight gain


95% of people in the UAE have gained weight in the two years since the first Covid lockdown, nearly double the rate seen in 2021

Dubai, UAE: Allurion, a company dedicated to promoting weight loss through the use of world-first technology, revealed in a study taken ahead of World Obesity Day, that the UAE may not be able to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2025 adult obesity targets, due to the increased rate of post-pandemic weight gain, hence the need for innovative, scalable, and trusted weight loss experiences to help combat obesity in the country.

In October 2020, a report released by Stress in AmericaTM 2020 titled A National Mental Health Crisis issued a warning to the world about the impact of Covid-19 on long-term physical and mental health. It warned that the world would face a second pandemic, one that would persist even after the physical threat of the virus had been addressed. The following year, Allurion indicated through a YouGov survey conducted in the region, that this is indeed coming to fruition, with 47% of UAE residents eating more than they used to do before the pandemic. Today, that number has nearly doubled, with 95% of the UAE population said to have gained weight in the two years since the first Covid lockdown, and will continue on this same trajectory.

First, let us look at the big picture. With the current global trends, it has been predicted that one in five adults worldwide are expected to be diagnosed with obesity by 2025, which means that countries such as the UAE are falling short of the WHO’s obesity targets. The UAE weight loss market is said to have reached an estimated value of $856 Million in 2020 and this figure is expected to increase by around five per cent, between 2021 and 2026. To put this into context, the UAE has a prevalence rate of 31.7%, which puts it in the top 40 countries in the world and sees two in three people overweight or obese in the Middle East.

Although life seems to have returned back to normal in the country, the crux of the issue still lies in the dramatic changes to health behaviors from the pandemic’s resulting lockdowns, which prompted people in the UAE to cut back on physical activity and eat more. Interestingly, besides being less physically active, another main cause of weight gain in the UAE is snacking, with 53% of UAE residents eating more frequently between meals than they used to. This has led many to attempt to lose weight through diet and exercise. That being said, about 85% of the population mentioned they only experienced momentary success, but no long-lasting results. This shocking truth has led to a community now seeking alternative holistic weight-loss solutions, other than surgery. With this in mind, Allurion continues its mission to help the UAE lose weight successfully and safely long term.

No weight loss program is a magic bullet and an effective solution is based on good healthcare and good science, such as the Allurion program which focuses on a 360-degree lifestyle shift to put patients on the trajectory to success. At its center is the Allurion Balloon, the world’s first and only swallowable, procedure-less gastric balloon for weight loss, which passes naturally after approximately 16 weeks. It is interesting to note that amongst people looking to lose weight in the UAE, it was reported that 73% saw gastric balloons as an innovative method, with 71% citing that having a balloon inserted would help them feel less hunger, thus allowing them to cut back on their food intake. Furthermore, Allurion patients benefit from six months of dietary support to ensure lasting lifestyle changes alongside a body composition scale and health tracker watch to monitor the patient’s progress and adapt or implement new changes as needed.

Shantanu Gaur, co-founder and CEO at Allurion, said the mission is to help people realize their full potential with a safe and innovative experience.

“At Allurion, we have developed what I call the “Weight Loss 2.0” experience. It is more effective than diet and exercise but safer, more affordable and easier than weight loss surgery. The Allurion Program combines a state-of-the-art gastric balloon solution with a full package of support that integrates lifestyle modification tools so that all our patients receive the guidance to develop good lifestyle habits that remain with them long after their balloon has gone” Gaur said.

With the rising acceptance of alternative weight loss methods in the UAE such as the Allurion Program, many people now have a proven solution to help on their journeys to their desired weight loss results.

Allurion’s Program is the world’s first and only weight loss device that requires no surgery, endoscopy, or anaesthesia. It is a swallowable pill that expands in the stomach to around the size of a grapefruit and allows patients to lose an average of 10 to 15% after approximately 16 weeks. Allurion’s Program combines its high-tech balloon solution with a full package of support to help its patients develop good lifestyle habits that can remain with them long after their balloon has gone. Patients benefit from six months of dietary support from a nutritionist to ensure lasting lifestyle changes alongside an Allurion body composition scale, health tracker watch and mobile app.