Science & Technology

Diabetes is a growing and lethal problem, especially among Middle East countries

The number of sufferers of diabetes almost doubled over the past decade, and today afflicts 382 million. Much of that increase occurred in the Middle East.

The number of sufferers of diabetes almost doubled over the past decade, and today afflicts 382 million. Much of that increase occurred in the Middle East.

In Saudi Arabia the occurrence in adults jumped from about one-in-ten to almost a quarter of the population. Unhealthy eating and scant exercise are the main culprits. Around 35% of Saudi Arabians qualify as obese; other rich Arab countries have similarly high levels. The disorder is dangerous. Last year it led to an estimated 5.1m deaths, according to the International Diabetes Federation. The estimate would make diabetes three times more deadly than AIDS.

Health experts said that a Mediterranean diet — which is rich in fish, nuts, vegetables and fruits — was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with other eating patterns.

 

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