40% of Saudis Now Obese

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Karen Wilson

Saudi Arabia has launched a major new health campaign targeting two key areas, after it was revealed that 40% of citizens in the Kingdom are obese.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are set to be the main areas targeted, with the country now home to an estimated 3.8 million diabetics - almost 20% of the total population.

Saudi Arabia’s increasingly unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise participation have been given as the major reasons behind these figures,, with further worrying statistics showing that 45% of deaths in the country are due to heart disease, and that 15% of adults in the Kingdom have high blood pressure.

With 70% of diabetics also having high blood pressure, hypertension has been labelled as the country’s ‘silent killer’, with work now underway to increase awareness of the condition.

A new campaign will allow people to be checked, free of charge, for hypertension and diabetes in commercial centres and malls nationwide, with health officials optimistic that this will allow more to enjoy a better quality of life - with issues being caught at an early stage.

Head of the Paediatric Kidney Unit at Al-Qatif Central Hospital, Saleh Al-Shurafa, said: “The campaign aims primarily at raising awareness and shedding light on the importance of early detection and lifestyle modification, especially since the prevalence of high blood pressure is 15% in adults in Saudi Arabia.

“70% of diabetics around the world had high blood pressure, and that is why the Ministry of Health set controlling blood pressure and diabetes as a priority in their programs. The correlation between the two diseases makes it necessary to fight both diseases in parallel, as this will help to avoid many complications, as well as the need to stimulate those in society to live a healthy and sustainable life.”

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