Against the backdrop of the alarming increase in the number of patients with diabetes and obesity in the Middle East region, the first such regional forum to combat these diseases has been launched at the Israel Pavilion of Expo 2020 to Dubai.
Within the framework of Israeli-Emirati cooperation, the forum is held at the initiative of the Ministry of Regional Cooperation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Israel and the United Arab Emirates, in which experts from Israel and from the Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and other countries.
Forum participants include Issawi Frej, Minister of Regional Cooperation, Nitzan Hrovitz, Minister of Health, Prof. Itamar Raz, Chairman of the Israel Diabetes Council, Dr. Abdul Razzaq Al Madani, Chairman of the UAE Diabetes Council ; and senior officials.
This initiative is part of a growing need to develop a regional response and a new action plan.
In the past decade, and remarkably in the past two years, the problem of diabetes has become a silent but deadly epidemic, just like the corona epidemic, as Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have recorded diabetes patients at higher rates than OECD countries, almost 10% of patients in Israel, 15.6% in Bahrain and 16.3% in the United Arab Emirates.
Countries in the Middle East region also share a growing worldwide prevalence of obese patients, especially among children. According to the data, more than 35% of children in the region have been diagnosed with overweight, which is the most important risk factor for the development of diabetes.
The problem of obesity has worsened since the Coronavirus epidemic, with an average increase of 5 kg per person and a decrease of around 45% in physical activity. Diabetes is considered one of the main causes of death in the region, and the number of patients is estimated at more than 35 million people, while the number of diabetics is expected to double by 2040. In addition to the risks associated with obesity, obesity quadruples the risk of serious heart disease.
Alongside the forum’s ongoing activity – which is primarily focused on formulating a five-year plan to address diabetes and obesity in the region – the Dubai forum is the first in a series of international conferences held every six months in different countries. .
Freij said: “Diabetes is on the rise. Its containment is in the interest of the whole world, not only in the interest of the countries of the region. Common problem requires common action, and that is why we started to establish the forum. We are going to Dubai to create a formidable logical force that will allow us to develop joint action to combat this problem that weighs on us all.”
Professor Raz said: “The high rates of morbidity in Israel and countries in the region reflect the personal suffering of many and the heavy burden on health systems. We have one goal and we will achieve it – to bring significant improvement to the problem of obesity and diabetes and its complications in Israel and the countries of the region. Reducing amputations and tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity, and enabling our fellow citizens to lead healthy lives is our goal. We have given ourselves a mission of great importance for the future of the region and its inhabitants.
Dr Al Madani said: “The epidemic of obesity and diabetes is only getting worse. I welcome this unique initiative to bring together the countries of the region, to promote a joint plan that will halt the increase in the number of diabetics and significantly improve the quality of life and life expectancy of residents throughout the region. »– TradeArabia Press Service