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Kuwait first worldwide in obesity, second in diabetes

Population to be at high risk if no measures are taken: Doctor

KUWAIT: Kuwait ranks first worldwide in obesity and second in diabetes rates, according to World Health Organization data aggregated by US website wisevoter.com. The figures highlight the health challenges Kuwait faces as it seeks to spread awareness among the population about healthier lifestyles.

Kuwait has a staggering 39.7 percent rate of prevalence of obesity among the population over the age of 18, ahead of the United States which has a 38.5 percent rate. The data uses Body mass index (BMI) to measure obesity. BMI can be measured in several ways. The WHO defines as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the person’s height in meters (kg/m2).

According to the World Health Organization, obesity is a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death worldwide. Being overweight can also lead to diabetes and its associated conditions, including blindness, limb amputations, and the need for dialysis.

When it comes to diabetes, Kuwait has a 24.9 percent prevalence rate, second only to Pakistan where 30.7 percent of the population has the disease. “There seems to be a trend where countries with high diabetes rates are typically located in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands,” wisevoter.com wrote. “This could be attributed to factors such as sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, genetic predisposition and high rates of obesity.”

A report released by the International Diabetes Federation in November 2022 had indicated that Type 2 diabetes rates in Kuwait have reached 25.5 percent among adults. Dr Ebaa Al-Ozairi, Chief Medical Officer at Dasman Diabetes Institute had warned in March 2023 that “by 2035, if no measures are taken in Kuwait, 52 percent of adults will suffer from obesity which puts Kuwait in a very high-risk category.” The country has organized several campaigns to raise awareness and curb the spread of the both conditions.

While the data aggregated by wisevoter.com matches that published by the World Health Organization in 2016, there is not much information available on wisevoter.com beyond being founded by a marketer and columnist named Ben Kaplan.

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