Views /Editorial

Another World Cup legacy

Published: 30 Aug 2022 - 08:39 am | Last Updated: 30 Aug 2022 - 08:39 am

The Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 in November and December will be the first World Cup in the Middle East. A vital feature of the tournament has been its ability to accelerate social, environmental and economic development in Qatar, the region, the continent and indeed the world, and hopes to leave a lasting positive legacy.

One of such legacies is promoting healthy living through sports in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The partnership, which began last October, is supported by FIFA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and is part of a drive to promote health globally through football.

Yesterday, the Minister of Public Health H E Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, disclosed that the World Cup is a unique platform to promote health worldwide and communicate that sport and health go together.

“Sport and health are intertwined, and together they play out in a celebration of joy, well-being, and solidarity for billions of people around the world,” she said.

Dr. Al Kuwari noted that by using the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to promote healthy lifestyles, people could be inspired to play football and other sports. The partners are committed to delivering campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity on health and promote the importance of following a healthy lifestyle by adopting healthy food choices during major sporting events.

On the other hand, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that focusing on physical activity, healthy diets and nutrition, tobacco control, mental health, and health security, the partnership strives to help improve the physical and mental health of people globally through sports.

The WHO DG added that keeping sporting events safe through a commitment to health security is a fundamental pillar of the Healthy World Cup project.

“From ensuring implementation of mass gathering protocols outside and inside stadiums to adhering to control measures, protect people from infectious disease outbreaks at mega sporting events, we are committed to working with partners to ensure all necessary steps are taken to make mega sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, safe and secure,” stated Dr. Ghebreyesus.

Since the partnership kicked off, MoPH and WHO have worked closely to promote physical health and well-being around several key milestones. These include promoting health and nutritional awareness during the Holy Month of Ramadan, engaging in the third edition of the “Walk the Talk: Health For All Challenge” in Geneva, and raising awareness of the harms caused by smoking on World No Tobacco Day.