Cairo: Around 60 per cent of adults in Saudi Arabia suffer from overweight and obesity, a Saudi health expert has said.
Three out of every five adults in the kingdom are overweight or obese, Dr Abdulrahman Al Qahtani added, citing a recent World Bank report issued in coordination with the Saudi Health Council after a 10-year study.
“These indicators and figures are worrying and very high,” he was quoted as telling Saudi television Al Ekhbariya.
Obesity and overweight, he pointed out, lead to other diseases and take a toll on health and the economy. “Obesity depletes health services,” he said.
Highlighting the economic repercussions of obesity in the kingdom, Dr Al Qahtani said the economic bill for that matter hit SR72 billion in 2019, accounting for 38 per cent of allocations for health and social development in the 2023 public budget.
The health awareness specialist blamed obesity on unhealthy lifestyle, including the high-calorie and fat diet.
Other contributing factors include bodily inactivity, long-hour use of smart devices on social media and TV screens, along with a low intake of fruits and vegetables.
“There is a sharp decline in getting the recommended daily intake of vegetables and fruits in Saudi society,” he said, according to Saudi news portal Sabq.
The expert called for drawing up strategic plans and unconventional awareness programmes to address obesity in the kingdom, a country of 33.2 million people.
Young people under the age of 30 account for 16.4 million or 51.1 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s total population, according to findings of a recent census.