Known for its recent high incidences of obesity and diabetes, the Gulf region, is now developing a massive public health problem with huge amounts of the health budget devoted to treating this seemingly unstoppable epidemic.
The report compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recommended urgent action to address this catastrophe. It calculated that in 2014 $17 billion was spent on the treatment of Diabetes alone in the Gulf Region with expenditure estimated to rise to $24.7 by 2035.
Data from the International Diabetes Federation shows that the prevalence of Diabetes in the adult population of the Gulf is:
Saudi Arabia 23.9%
Global Average is 8.3%
Rates of obese or overweight adults in the Gulf - 75%
Rates of obese or overweight children in the Gulf (under age 18) - 40%
The principal cause of Diabetes is obesity and at the moment the EIU found that the health measures taken to detect diabetes and treat it early, such as screening and improved primary care, are inconsistent. The overall expenditure on healthcare at 2.4-4.9% of GDP in 2012 is below the OECD average.