Journalist ◆ Filmmaker ◆ Academic | Put Down That Doughnut! NU-Q Students Launch Website on Diabetes, Obesity in Qatar


Posted by Christina Paschyn in News & Updates

Put Down That Doughnut! NU-Q Students Launch Website on Diabetes, Obesity in Qatar

Put down the chocolate, throw out the doughnut, and don’t even think about taking another bite out of that cupcake. Northwestern University students launch website on diabetes and obesity in Qatar.

Feb. 17, 2012

This past semester at Northwestern University in Qatar, I taught Advanced Online Storytelling, a five-week course for third-year journalism students. The class prepares the students for their public relations or journalism residencies, during which they spend 10 weeks working at a professional news or communications organization. This year my students will be interning at The Huffington Post, Vogue magazine and PR-firm Brown Lloyd James, among others.

The class goal was for the students to create a multimedia website featuring in-depth print, video, flash, and photo reports on a pressing issue in Qatar. We chose to investigate the twin crises of diabetes and obesity here; recent studies show about 40 percent of Qataris are obese or morbidly obese and 20 percent of the population suffers from diabetes.

The country is truly facing a health epidemic, which is why I am so pleased to announce the launch of our site Sweet Epidemic: The Crisis of Diabetes and Obesity in Qatar ( The site will serve to educate and enlighten the Qatari public about the country’s ‘sweet epidemic’ and how they can re-take control of their well being. Moreover, my students’ reporting goes beyond facts and figures to expose the underlying cultural, gender and societal reasons for the increase of these diseases here.

I encourage you to visit our site and leave us your feedback. We would love to hear your thoughts! I think my students have done an incredible job and I am so very proud of them.

The site is already getting a ton of attention and hits, and yesterday our work was featured on Doha News.

Update, Feb. 28, 2012

The site has been featured on NU-Q’s website, Doha’s The Peninsula and the UAE’s Gulf News site. We have already reached more than 3,000 page views!

Update, May 3, 2012

Qatar Happening magazine featured the Sweet Epidemic site in a two-page spread in their April issue, and it looked fantastic! Download a PDF of the article.

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