As per a latest report from Colliers International, diabetes cases in the North Africa and Middle East are expected to rise by 110 percent to 82 million by 2045.
As per the report, the figures will leave the MENA region second only to Africa (156 percent) in terms of increases in diabetes, remarkably impacting productivity rates and mortality and leading to increases in healthcare expenditure.
The report – part of the Arab Health Market Series – forecast that the economic burden of diabetes in the region will increase 67 percent to 35.5 billion by 2045.
Meanwhile, many Middle Eastern countries – like Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and the UAE – have the highest ratio of obesity among adults, with between 27 percent and 40 percent of the overall population affected.
Exhibition director of Arab Health, Ross Williams stated, “With health professionals and researchers considering diabesity as potentially the greatest epidemic in human history, the advancement of communication technology, telehealth and application of artificial intelligence is now playing a critical role in management of chronic illnesses such as diabesity and obesity.”
Williams also said, “the economic and societal impact of the epidemic is a catalyst for the entire healthcare industry to come together to offer collective solutions to this global problem.”
The report mentioned that factors responsible for diabetes in the Gulf region include altered dietary patterns due to rise in urbanisation and income, with only 38 percent of the GCC population eating fresh vegetables and fruits.
Other factors constitute sedentary lifestyle, with 73 percent of women and 60 percent of men physically inactive, also barriers to a healthy diet and less emphasis on nutritional education and rise in consumption of sugar and sugar substitutes.
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