Healthcare costs skyrocket as obesity, diabetes rates climb

As of 2014, the annual healthcare costs associated with obesity were $2 trillion.

Overweight man [Illustrative] (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Overweight man [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Israel is 38th on the list of the countries with the most obesity, with a rate of about 18% among adults, slightly behind Australia and the UK. According to an Israel National Health Survey published earlier this year, an additional 37% of the population are overweight, thus about half of Israeli adults are overweight or obese.
Data on diabetes, obesity and unhealthful lifestyle were collected and released on Wednesday to mark November as World Diabetes Awareness Month by Dr. Orly Tamir, director of the national diabetes program for the Israel Forum for a Healthful Lifestyle, which is headed by senior diabetologist Prof. Itamar Raz.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, every year five million people die from complications of uncontrolled diabetes. According to the Global Obesity Index, residents of the island of Nauru in Micronesia are ranked at the top of the obesity table with an amazingly high fat rate of over 93%, followed by the Cook Islands (near New Zealand) with 91%. The US, which led the table until a few years ago, ranks ninth, with just over 73% obesity.
At the bottom of the list are Third World countries, including India, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, where severe poverty leads to death from hunger and malnutrition.
According to World Health Organization data, from 1975 to the present, diabetes rates worldwide have multiplied 10-fold. More than 40 million children under the age of five are considered obese. Some 124 million children and adolescents around the world aged five to 19 are obese – about 50 million girls and another 74 million boys. Another 213 million children and youth aged five to 19 in the world are overweight.
According to the Israel National Diabetes Registry, there are some 550,000 people with diabetes and a similar number n the pre-disease stage when it can still be prevented with proper diet and regular exercise.
According to the Health Ministry’s report on the leading causes of death released in June 2017, complications of uncontrolled diabetes was the fourth leading cause of mortality in both men and women. The first three places were taken up by cancer, heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.
The annual cost resulting from obesity in 2006 – including the cost of treatment of its resulting diseases and indirect financial damage – is some NIS 10 billion, which accounts for 20% of the total national health expenditure in that year. Eleven years have passed since this assessment was given, and the economic burden today is significantly higher.
The cost of obesity worldwide, according to the McKenzie Report of 2014, was estimated at about $2 trillion a year, almost as much as the cost of smoking, terrorism and war.
According to OECD figures, in 2015, the per-capita daily consumption of sugar in Israel for adults was 160 grams or 32 teaspoons. The ministry recommends limiting daily adult consumption of sugar to nine to 11 five-gram teaspoons, including all sugar in processed foods and drinks.