The UAE weight loss market is said to have reached an estimated value of $856 Million in 2020 and although Covid-19 has been a major contributor this figure is expected to increase by around five per cent, between 2021 and 2026. Why is this? In the UAE a significant attributing factor is a population suffering from obesity and being overweight. To put this into context the country 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.
The UAE’s overweight population is often attributed to a hot climate, rapid economic growth and urbanisation of the country, all of which has led to fast-paced and technology-driven living, and thus less physical activity and increased consumption of unhealthy food. For example, eating habits have been impacted drastically due to the growing number of restaurants, fast food chains, cafes, and most of all, delivery services making processed dietary options readily available to all.
So what does the weightloss solution look like for the UAE in 2022? Whilst the wellness industry continues to experience growth 4 , many looking to shed the kilos have realized that sometimes, diet and exercise just aren’t enough and there is a need for alternative weight loss methods and programs. In a global study conducted in October 2021 by Allurion, the weight loss company, it was found that 55% of the UAE will consider weight loss methods other than diet and physical activity, which was the highest affirmative answer amongst the other countries surveyed including the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Brazil 5.
As a health and wellness professional, I always implore my patients to seek out holistic methods; these are programs that focus on a 360-degree lifestyle shift, and put you on the trajectory to success. For example, I work with the Allurion Program, and 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 6 . That being said, when looking to get on a weight loss journey this year that will yield results, the heavy lifting won’t stop with the insertion of a gastric balloon. To explain further, alternative weight loss solutions are just one piece of the puzzle and an effective plan must combine good science with healthcare. My Allurion patients benefit from six months of dietary support to ensure lasting lifestyle changes alongside a body composition scale and health tracker watch where we can follow the progress and adapt or implement new changes as needed.
As we look ahead to what this year will bring, there is still some fear and uncertainty with having lived through a pandemic the past couple of years. This year calls for a renewed focus on our and wellness, both physical and mental. 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.