Health

Middle East struggles under the weight of an obesity epidemic

Published 5:44 AM ET, Thu March 26, 2015
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In 2013, 610kg Saudi Arabian Khalid bin Mohsen Shaari made international news. He was an extreme example of the Middle East's obesity epidemic. Saudi Ministry of Health
Shahzad Ahmed moved to Abu Dhabi a decade ago. He was soon obese and near diabetic. He blames a sedentary lifestyle, and an abundance of food. courtesy shahzad ahmed
Ahmed's wake-up call came three years ago, with his young daughter. "She would tell me, 'Baba, you're fat because you're eating a lot of chicken," he laughs. He realized he had to change his lifestyle if he was to see his daughter grow up. courtesy shahzad ahmed
Ahmed started running and biking in 2012. Last fall, he signed up for 2,300 kilometer bike race across Europe. courtesy shahzad ahmed
The race, called the mHealth Grand Tour, raises money for diabetes awareness. It took 15 days, across four countries, through mountains and rain storms. courtesy shahzad ahmed
He completed the race and he has seen a remarkable turnaround in his health. "That's the best achievement I feel in terms of my health and fitness," he says. "I'm enjoying every bit of my life."
courtesy shahzad ahmed