Nestle has recognized the importance of improving wellness and healthy living in the Arab-speaking community as well as the need for native Arabic voices and advanced technology to share the message of the importance of healthy living. As part of its efforts at leading the conversation about wellness and tackling obesity in often underserved communities, Nestle, together with Dawsat, has set out on a campaign presenting its healthy breakfast and snack options in a series of lifestyle videos presented by Mas Watad, founder and President of Dawsat.
The obesity and diabetes epidemic taking hold across the Middle East has become well-known. Excluding Pacific Island nations, the Middle East and North Africa region is home to 9 out of the 10 most obese countries in the world and the highest rate of diabetes in the world. Over 80% of the women in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have a BMI greater than 25 in the region and over 30% of the population in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates is considered obese, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. The region's governments have identified this public health crisis and are devoting resources and attention to try to turn the tide of obesity and its related health problems among young and old.
Nestle has turned to well-known opinion leader, community and respected dietician, Mas Watad to share the importance of healthy habits with the Arab-speaking community. Ms. Watad is the inventor of the Dawsat method, a wellness and weight loss method based entirely on the Arabic kitchen and delivered in Arabic via online groups, online personal coaching and offline support groups to Arabic-speaking customers around the world. More than 50,000 people have lost weight using the Dawsat method and the Dawsat mobile App (in Arabic) has over 115,000 downloads. Participants completing the 13-week Dawsat program in 2018 reduced their BMI by an average of 4 points and lost 14% of their body weight.
"Like Nestle, Dawsat believes that treating yourself and continuing to eat the foods we love, are part of making any lifestyle change sustainable. I can't imagine giving up Maqloube or Kanafe, and wouldn't expect our community to do so either," said Ms. Watad. Ahmed, aged 24, a Dawsat participant from Saudi Arabia emphasized, "With Dawsat's online support group, I didn't have to give up my favorite desserts. Dawsat gave me a framework to adjust my habits in the direction of a healthy lifestyle. I started to see the results immediately in the way I feel and look."
"By choosing Dawsat, Nestle has shown our community that they understand that wellness must come from within our culture and cannot simply be imported from outside," said Ms. Watad. "At Dawsat we believe that our community's wellness can be found from within our own kitchen. We are honored to partner with Nestle on this important campaign to help improve the healthy habits of our community."
In the campaign, delivered in Arabic, Ms. Watad shares with her community of online viewers across the Middle East, ideas and recipes for integrating foods rich in vitamins and fiber into their daily routines. Ms. Watad also shares with the viewers of the campaign the power of community and group support on a person's wellness journey as she documents her meals, exercise and weight-loss achievement on the closed in-App community within the Dawsat App, called Tawasul.