An average 20,000 people die in Saudi Arabia every year as a result of heart problems and other diseases associated with obesity, a newspaper in the Gulf oil producer reported on Monday.
The high death rate has prompted the Gulf kingdom to upgrade surgical treatment of overweight and this boosted spending on such operations to nearly SR17 billion a year, Alriyadh said, quoting Dr Abdul Mohsen Al Dhakri, Director of academic affairs at the Royal National Guards.
“Obesity kills an average 20,000 people in Saudi Arabia every year and most of the deaths are a result of cardiac arrest, infarction, stroke and renal failure,” he told an international conference on obesity in the eastern town of Khobar.
He said nearly 98 per cent of the surgeries conducted in Saudi Arabia last year to treat overweight were successful.
“Obesity is a dangerous phenomenon…it could be contagious within the family which does not follow a nutritious and good eating habits.”