Abu Dhabi, UAE: For Tasnim Al Gaishi, there is a "revolution in health" among her generation, especially with fitness.
Young people have learnt from previous generations, said Ms Al Gaishi, 23, a physiotherapist.
"I think now the older generation is reaping what they sowed," she said.
"So us, the youngsters, we can see how much our parents have been suffering because of things they’ve been neglecting."
Recently in the UAE, more people have been thinking about fitness and watching their diets, including her family.
"Even in my family, which loves very fatty foods, they’ve been trying to find alternatives to oil and ghee, et cetera," she said.
Pain is considered more tolerable in her native Yemen and fewer people seek medical attention for their conditions, but social media is starting to change that, she added.
"Because, you know, we have BlackBerry, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, people are getting more in touch with how they’re supposed to live, like healthy lifestyle, being fit, caring about certain types of food," said Ms Al Gaishi.
The survey found that 35 per cent of young people were influenced by social media – the first time it was included by the polling company.
Ms Al Gaishi said she thinks the Government is making efforts to improve, but she believes many doctors come into the country for the wrong reasons.
"They don’t treat people for the people’s own good, they treat them for money. I’ve seen that a lot," she said.
"There are so many good doctors, but the problem with that is you don’t know where to go. You don’t know which is the right doctor to go to."
Rand Sadiq, 24, a dentistry student, said she has noticed a rising focus on health among her classmates at the University of Sharjah, where she has studied for the past seven years.
"I can see my friends and even the newer students here, they have more interest in sickness or nutrition, or taking care of themselves," said Ms Sadiq, an Iraqi who has lived in the UAE for 15 years.
She said the Government had the capacity to address health issues, but may not be reaching everyone.
"I don’t think the Government has a problem with it, but [with] the way that they implement it. I think they have the staff and they have the background and they have the knowledge and the scientific basis to support it. But maybe the way they implement it is not that approachable to the youth society," she said.
"We have awareness campaigns every now and then, but they need to be approachable."
In Iraq, the situation is different – health receives "a fraction" of the national attention, she said.
"They don’t care about these things. It is not a priority at the moment," said Ms Sadiq.
© The NationalApr 2014