Israelis not very fit, but most aiming for better health

Health Ministry’s health education and promotion department to present "Healthy Israel 2020" plan to Prime Minister's Office.

November 15, 2010 06:37
1 minute read.
Illustrative photo

treadmill fitness exercise. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Although many Israelis are not fit and too many of them still smoke, most Israelis are interested in bettering their health, and a growing number are taking action towards that goal, according to a new poll by the Health Ministry’s health education and promotion department.

Released for publication on Monday, the representative sample of 4,186 adults over 21 (2,587 Jews and 1,599 Arabs) responded to a phone questionnaire.

The figures were released in advance of the ministry’s planned presentation to the Prime Minister’s Office of the Healthy Israel 2020 plan, with national goals within the next decade to improve the population’s health. The plan will require implementation by a number of ministries together.

According to the survey, which was conducted in 2008 and 2009, 46.7% of Arab men, 25.6% of Jewish men, 16.3% of Jewish women and 5.8% of Arab women smoke. Although there has been no decrease in smoking among Arab males in recent years, 61.1% of Arab men and women smokers said they wanted to quit.

Some 36% of Jewish men, 32% of Jewish women, 22% of Arab men and 20% of Arab women said they exercise three or more times per week for at least 20 minutes each. The most common exercise in the whole population was walking short distances instead of taking the car and climbing stairs, while bike riding to a destination instead of taking the car was the least frequent.

Around 19% of the Arab men and women admitted to being obese (when their weight and height were used to calculate their body mass index); around 40% of the Jewish and Arab men, 35% of the Arab women and 30% of the Jewish women admitted to being overweight.

Most people said they try to reduce the amount of fats, sugar and salt that they consume.

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