RIYADH (AFP) – Almost one in five Saudis suffer from obesity, costing the country more than three billion dollars a year, a top medical official said in remarks published.
Walid Bukhari, chief surgeon at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, said more than three million Saudis were classified as obese, out of the Gulf state’s local population of about 16 million.
Those with the condition, caused by poor diet or lack of exercise, spend more than three billion dollars a year in consultation fees, medicine and medical procedures, he told Al-Watan newspaper.
Obesity can lead to illnesses ranging from arthritis to asthma as well as more serious conditions such as cancer or heart disease.
The oil-rich Gulf states have been recording higher rates of illness associated with obesity, according to a study carried out in 2005 that found 70 percent of women and 50 percent of men were obese.