The number of diabetes cases in the region is expected to rise 110% by 2045
Diabetes cases in the Middle East and North Africa are expected to increase by 110 percent to 82 million by 2045, according to a new report from Colliers International.
According to the report, the figures will leave the MENA region second only to Africa (156 percent) in terms of increases in diabetes, significantly impacting mortality and productivity rates 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 rise 67 percent to 35.5 billion by 2045.
Meanwhile, several Middle Eastern countries – such as Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE – have the highest ratio of obesity among adults, with between 27 percent and 40 percent of the total population affected.
“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,” said Ross Williams, exhibition director of Arab Health.
Williams added that “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 noted that factors contributing to diabetes in the Gulf region include altered dietary patterns due to increased income and urbanisation, with only 38 percent of the GCC population eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
Other factors include sedentary lifestyle, with 60 percent of men and 73 percent of women physically inactive, as well as barriers to a healthy diet and less emphasis on nutritional education and increased consumption of sugar and sugar substitutes.