Manama: Kuwait has the highest obesity rate in the world, the head of the Department of Surgery in Al Sabah Hospital has said.

"There are about 250,000 people suffering from obesity in Kuwait, and up to 50,000 of them need surgeries," Dr Mubarak Al Kandari said. "Obesity in Kuwait is now the highest rate in the world," he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Watan.

According to the consultant general surgeon, the hospital's obesity surgery unit is working to limit the spread of obesity in Kuwait.

The unit receives up to 30 patients a week.

"It takes about four and six weeks to do tests. Some patients with stomach and duodenal inflammation need medical treatment before the surgery and this takes some time. After that we do germ test. Then, the patient has to visit a nutritionist in order to go on a diet to reduce weight by 10 per cent," Al Kandari said.

"The obesity rate increases every year at local and international levels due to the change of lifestyle such as consuming junk food, lack of movement and failure to practice sport. Obesity is dangerous because of the high cost of treatment and the high cost of treating other diseases it causes," the surgeon said.

Kuwait is home to 1.1 million Kuwaitis and 2.2 million foreigners.