NEW YORK // The regional boss for the UN children's agency, Unicef, described obesity and road accident deaths as among the biggest problem for young Omanis, upon concluding two days of high-level meetings in the capital, Muscat, yesterday. Sigrid Kaag, Unicef's director for the Middle East and North Africa, said car accidents on Oman's roads were a leading cause of deaths of young people. Poor diets are a problem among under-fives, she added, with high levels of stunting (13 per cent), underweight children (11 per cent) and wasting (seven per cent).
"Unicef works in close partnership with the government to ensure that our expertise is put at the service of the rights and well-being of women and children" said Ms Kaag. "Unicef can scale up support as needed through innovative partnerships - including in the emerging areas of childhood obesity, road traffic accidents and preventable injuries." The Gulf sultanate has also made progress, with under-five mortality plummeting by more than 60 per cent between 1990 and 2008, Ms Kaag said after meetings with ministers and heads of non-governmental organisations. The Unicef boss lauded Omani officials for making a "strong commitment towards the realisation" of the rights of children and women.