London: Obesity costs Saudi Arabia $19 billion every year. And according to a new study, this figure could skyrocket by 2060 if the issue is not appropriately addressed. Published by the British Medical Journal Global Health, the study found that obesity costs the Kingdom 2.4 percent of its GDP.
$19 billion is the equivalent of 2.4 percent of Saudi GDP and could shoot up to $78 billion per annum by 2060 if ‘urgent steps’ are not taken.
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The study conducted by the World Obesity Federation and RTI International; has found that Saudi Arabia has an obesity rate of roughly 35 percent. It warned that if “urgent steps” are not taken; “the economic impact for Saudi Arabia could rise to 4.1 percent by 2060, or the equivalent of US$78 billion.”
CEO of the World Obesity Federation, Johanna Ralston, told Arab News that her organization selected Saudi Arabia as part of the study; because of its primarily young population and the recent Saudi efforts to prevent obesity and its treatments. This makes Saudi Arabia an interesting case for a pilot country.
Ralston said although the causes of high obesity rates are “complex,” but “eating habits, sleeping habit; and physical activity levels” certainly are contributing factors.
Ralston lauded the initiatives by the Kingdom, especially campaigns by the Saudi Sports Federation; that encourage individuals to take up a healthy lifestyle.