As the world deals with constant health threats like new variants of COVID-19 or monkeypox,
Overweight and obesity are a major global epidemic that has grown substantially. Obesity book, the global obesity epidemic presents a major challenge to developing human capital acquisition, national wealth accumulation, and the goals of boosting shared prosperity.As highlighted in the 2020
The prevalence of all NCDs—such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers—has also increased substantially in recent decades. Diabetes prevalence alone has increased by 99% in the last decade in Saudi Arabia, rising from 1.4 million cases in 2009 to 2.7 million in 2019. This is especially concerning when most Saudis are young, and the prevalence rates will likely increase as the population ages if no action is taken.
through several in-depth analyses with the objective of providing new evidence and generating knowledge to support the government in achieving their national goals and objectives.
“The report highlights many of the existing accomplishments in KSA and will help to advance progress in the kingdom based on the best global experiences and evidence to date. Both policymakers and researchers will find it useful for building on the areas identified in the book, that will encourage collaboration on reversing the trend of overweight and obesity in Saudi Arabia, other countries in the region, and beyond," said Dr. Nahar Alaezmi, Secretary General of the Saudi Health Council, and one of the editors of the report.
While historically adult women had higher rates of overweight/obesity than adult men in KSA, a noticeable reversal in trend occurred in the early 2000s with the young boys leading the prevalence rates of overweight/obesity compared to girls. More alarmingly, one-third of all children and adolescents (aged 5–19) had overweight or obesity in 2016, which is twice the global average of 18%.
he impact of overweight/obesity directly costs a total of US$3.8 billion in Saudi Arabia, equal to 4.3% of total health expenditures the country (2019). This is largely driven by type 2 diabetes costs. Additionally, overweight and obesity-attributable absenteeism and presenteeism costs a total of US$15.5 billion, equal to 0.9% of GDP in 2019.They take a large economic toll in society. T
. Approximately 65–70% of food and beverages sold in Saudi Arabia are either processed or ultra-processed, which contribute around 17–20% of caloric intake in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, almost 70% of the population aged 15 years and older don’t meet standard global physical activity guidelines. Our analysis shows that achieving a 20% reduction on overweight and obesity can avert an estimated 60,000 and 110,000 deaths for women and men, respectively, by 2050.
While the issue of obesity is complex and some of its risk factors are beyond the control of individuals, several innovative evidence-based interventions do exist. The new report showcases the strong commitment and policy responses by the Saudi government to address the rising problem of obesity in the country—particularly among youth. KSA already implemented many innovative policies, including a 50% tax on SSBs. The report also identifies the remaining challenges and opportunities as well as provides recommendations
One such opportunity is to transform the food system to benefit both public health and the environment.Production of ultra-processed foods and SSBs contributes significantly to water use and carbon emissions. A shift toward healthier diets with fewer animal products and less food waste can help achieve health goals.
in Saudi Arabia, with the design of a Saudi Arabia–specific nutrient profiling model to serve as a unified tool for all nutrition related policies such as taxation, front of package labeling, and advertising restrictions among others.