Saturday, August 8, 2009

Diet centers offer a nutritional revolution

She’s so skinny now! I think she lost 27 kilograms in six months. And all she ate was the food delivered from a diet center,’ a 14-year-old girl exclaimed to her friends at the gym I’ve joined for the summer. The conversation piqued my interest and I shamelessly eavesdropped as the girls discussed the merits of the program that their friend had subscribed to. “She barely exercised. She just avoided any junk or fast-food and only ate the meals that were delivered to her place.”

The sense of awe in the girl’s voice was unmistakable.

“Exercise is really important. But it isn’t sufficient to achieve the desirable weight. Not if I’m going to down four slices of pizza and a large coke right after my 40-minute workout,” one of the teenagers realized. By the end of the discussion, all three of them had decided to subscribe to the same diet program.

The health center these girls were talking about and other such establishments have flourished remarkably in the Saudi market since their arrival in the late nineties. Their key product is selling a healthier lifestyle via providing a healthier diet, through specific diet charts.

The main reason behind their popularity, several people claim, is the growing awareness of health-management and weight-consciousness. “Especially younger generations are very particular about their weight and appearance,” notes the manager of one health center in Jeddah in an interview with Saudi Gazette. However, this trend in weight-control is offset by the fast-food culture, which has led to obesity, cholesterol problems, and other health risks, added a gym instructor.

Diet centers with their calorie-limited and nutritional menus are the solution to this fast-food epidemic, according to most advocates of this trend. While some centers provide off-the-shelf and ready-to-go items including low-calorie sandwiches, pastries, and salads, other establishments recommend a consultation from their in-house dietician first. The dietician designs a specific weight-management program for the client based on their weight, height, medical history, and exercise routine. For more read here.

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