Historically, Saudi Arabia has placed among the top 17 countries in the world in terms of obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). To combat this health epidemic, the government launched several nutritional reform initiatives. Among them, the Saudi Healthy Food Strategy (HFS) was planned in 2017 and officially launched in September of 2018.
This new initiative aims to promote healthier lifestyles by encouraging people to choose healthier foods and drinks. The initiative also focuses on increasing physical activity and decreasing the consumption of sugary beverages.
In a recent study, researchers found that while the majority of participants understood the Healthy Food Palm and the Saudi Healthy Plate guidelines, less than half self-reported adhering to them. This low adherence to the guidelines is consistent with other studies that report low overall adherence to dietary guidelines.
To understand what factors influence dietary choices and guideline recognition and usage, future research should collect demographic data that survey respondents’ income, occupation, and geographic location. This information can help researchers better identify and target individuals who might benefit from additional healthy eating promotion interventions.
There are many ways to eat healthy, including making smarter food choices at restaurants and grocery stores. In addition, many local restaurants are adding healthier options to their menus. For example, RAW – The Health Bar is a great place to find a wide selection of juices, acai bowls and smoothies. It’s best to call ahead or check their online menu to ensure they have what you want. أكل صحي الرياض