Obesity rate among Saudi men and women hits 70%

Increased number of fast food restaurants one reason behind expanding waistlines.
Obesity rate among Saudi men and women hits 70%
QUICK BITE: The growing number of fast food chains in the kingdom is causing waistlines to expand. (Getty Images)
By Elsa Baxter
Sun 22 Aug 2010 09:29 AM

The growing number of fast food restaurants across Saudi Arabia has been blamed for the country’s rising obesity rate, the Saudi Gazette reports on Sunday.

Figures released by the Saudi Diabetes and Endocrinology Society said 70 percent of the kingdom’s local population are classed as obese.

A recent study found that among middle-aged people, 34 percent of men and 45 percent of women were obese.

Factors contributing to the rise were reported to be an increase in wages, the spread of fast-food restaurants, a change in nutrition habits and too little physical activity, according to the report.

Dr. Basim Fota, head of the Society’s Health Education Unit, told the paper a four-fold increase in the amount of fat in people’s current diets was also to blame for growing waistlines.

Obesity is not a problem unique to Saudi Arabia with rates escalating across the world. More than 1 billion adults are classed as overweight and at least 300 million clinically obese, according to figures from the World Health Organisation.

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