Big oil countries see expansion of waistlines

For decades it has been widely recognized that the most affluent societies indulge in foods that have a very negative consequence to health, thus leading to the steady rise in diabetes across the Middle East.

According to the International Diabetes Federation 2015 IDF Diabetes Almanac, 415 million people worldwide are affected by Diabetes and 35.4 million stem from the region known as MENA or Middle East and North Africa. These numbers are expected to dramatically change by the year 2040, MENA more than doubling in the rate of incidence to 72.1 million.

While much of prime time news coverage is spent addressing more acute issues that have a sudden and tragic tale, the storyline of most diabetic sufferers is one of long chronic suffering, as story that warrants investigation and education.

Here are the facts:

  • Over 35 million people have diabetes
  • Over 40.6% of these have not been diagnosed and are at higher risk of developing harmful and costly complications
  • Diabetes caused 342,000 deaths in 2015
  • Over half (51.3%) of those deaths were in people under the age of 60
  • USD 17.1 billion were spent on treating diabetes in 2015. This is equivalent to approximately 15% of the total health budget. Health expenditure on diabetes in the region accounts for just 2.5% of global spending on diabetes.



Top 5 countries for number of people with diabetes
(20-79 years), 2014

Egypt 7.593
Pakistan 6.944
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 4.582
Saudi Arabia 3.806
Sudan 3.007












Top 5 countries for diabetes comparative
prevalence (%) (20-79 years), 2014

Countries/territories    %   
Saudi Arabia 23.9
Kuwait  23.1
Bahrain 21.9
Qatar 19.8
United Arab Emirates 19


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