Childhood obesity and raising health-consciousness takes centre stage at Daman’s Creating Healthy Communities conference

Creating Healthy Communities19 October, Abu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesNational Health Insurance Company – Daman, will welcome Dr Claude Marcus, a leading expert in paediatric health and childhood obesity, and Jon Duschinsky, the creator of the famed Ice Bucket Challenge, to its Creating Healthy Communities conference, amongst other notable speakers on Monday, 31st October.

The gathering of such experts will highlight international best practices on community health and wellbeing that can be implemented here in the UAE, and to foster better dialogue and collaborations between entities in the public and private sector.

Dr Marcus is a renowned expert in paediatric endocrinology, boasting a host of accomplishments and titles including being the founder of the Swedish National Childhood Obesity Centre, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Swedish Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) study, and leader of the research groups working on Stockholm Obesity Prevention Project (STOPP).

Dr Marcus has been vocal internationally about the issues related to childhood obesity and the effects it has on the youth’s future. He even proposed a “sweet tax shift” in Sweden, issuing higher VAT on unhealthy foods like soft drinks and candy.

At the conference, Dr Marcus will deliver his speech under the title “Food at the Heart of the Community”, where he will explain how to guide the public in making healthier choices with food and other tactics to tackle childhood obesity.


Speaking on participating in Daman’s Creating Healthy Communities conference, Dr Marcus said: “I seek to educate the younger generations of the world on the imperativeness of eating well, and strongly feel that this is an issue that must be addressed with the parents and elders of the community – that nutritious food is key for the development of society.

“Being invited to speak at the conference is certainly a privilege for me and I hope my topic of conversation will resonate in each of those who attend and ultimately, start a positive change in the community’s diet.”

Daman is excited to host other accomplished speakers, including Jon Duschinsky, the creator of the Ice Bucket Challenge: an initiative that raised over $30 million for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. Duschinsky is the CEO of the Conversation Farm and leads a global team that aims to bring fresh ideas to change the way people talk about certain issues and causes. At the conference, Duschinsky will discuss behavioural engineering and with the use of practical tools, how Abu Dhabi can build movements that change the way people think in terms of healthy living. This will be under the title, “How to Engage the Public in Healthier Choices; Government Strategies to Create Public Awareness“.

Dr. Michael Bitzer, Chief Executive Officer at Daman, said: “We are excited to welcome such dynamic and inspirational speakers to the Creating Healthy Communities conference. From speakers such as Dr Marcus who will explain to us the profound effects of food on societies – especially children – to speakers such as Jon Duschinsky, who has successively shown an innovative approach to raising awareness amongst large groups of people. His techniques  will equip us to build and engineer mentalities for healthier lifestyles.”

Daman also previously announced that the conference will welcome Olympic legend Carl Lewis, a highly-decorated athlete who has gone on to become a strong advocate for wellness and fitness in youth projects, as well as promoting awareness for the opportunities and challenges young people face in education and sport. Lewis will be joined by Mick Cornett, the Mayor of Oklahoma City – a man who inspired his people to lose 1 million pounds.

After being listed as one of the most obese cities in the USA, Cornett oversaw a city-wide weight loss campaign which began on New Year’s Eve in 2007. Cornett is also a man who openly talks about his personal battles with weight gain which has helped encourage further dialogue on the issue of obesity.

The Creating Healthy Communities conference, which is being held on Monday, 31 October at the Zayed University Convention Centre, also provides a platform for connecting government and private sector stakeholders, facilitating synergy between previously unconnected organisations and activities.

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