Young Egyptian men play ping pong in a documentary screened during the “future leaders” session at the World Youth Forum Nov. 5, 2018 – Youtube still from dmc official channel
CAIRO – 7 November 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi expressed concerns over the weight of young Egyptians during a Monday World Youth Forum session on “future leaders.”
Short documentaries about the achievements of Egyptian universities, as well as the Presidential Leadership Program that was launched in 2015, and the National Training Academy (NTA) established in 2017, featured dozens of young Egyptians.
“A 30-year old would not be able to produce with such excess weight,” the president said, urging universities and schools to pay attention to the body shape and fitness of students. He criticized that some of the youths who appeared in the films needed to “lose half their weight.”
Among several comments that Sisi had on the 2-hour session that also included a presentation by Executive Director of the NTA Rasha Ragheb, he urged the government and the public to establish “a culture of looking after oneself.”
“This is one of the standards that create an impression about a person when he talks to others … The young men and women at universities, with all my due respect to them, they are my children, their weight is [excess],” he added, and continued that this means they do not exercise.
In the context of the selection criteria of the NTA, he addressed Ragheb saying that the body shape should be one of the factors.
About 36 percent of the respondents to the 2017 Egypt National STEPwide Survey, conducted by the World Health Organization, were found to be obese among 63 percent overweight respondents.
Sisi expressed his surprise over providing transportation on campus, as shown in one of the films, recommending that people use means of transportation only when the distance is over one kilometer, unless they have health issues.
He brought up the phenomenon of tuktuks in Egypt, that has made many people avoid walking a mere 100-meter distance, he said.
On Tuesday morning, Sisi participated in a seven-kilometer bike marathon with dozens of young people and athletes from around the world. He has repeatedly appeared cycling since he became president in 2014, and urged Egyptians to use bicycles in their daily lives.
To a short applause, Sisi keenly said “I want my children to be pointed at with favor. I want people to look at them and feel they are sculpted.”