Since the early 1990s, Dubai's population has grown by more than 200 percent. The emirate's rapid expansion, its fast-paced lifestyle and its embrace of Western consumer habits have created a natural market for convenience food. Shopping malls are stuffed with food courts, and a sharp increase in obesity has now become a national concern. "Obesity is a big problem in this part of the world," says Waffa Al-Bassum, clinical dietician and diabetes educator at the Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group. "It's an issue that's been going on for a while, and people need to understand that obesity is a disease and it needs to be treated as such."