Report claims Arabs living longer but not healthier

People in the Arab world are living longer but not healthier, says a new report that will be presented at the Arab Health event in Dubai this week.

 The Burden of Disease report will be discussed during the 2nd Big Data Conference under Arab Health, which starts on Monday at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

 It tracks changes in the region’s health care over the last two decades, claiming that the average age of death has increased by up to 30 years.

 The trend, however, does not suggest people are healthier, with a “substantial disease burden” persisting in low-income countries in the Middle East.

 The report said overeating now causes more health issues than hunger, with chronic diseases such as diabetes rising due to high blood pressure, poor diet, smoking and lack of physical activity.

 Globally, people are living longer than ever before, the population is getting older, and child mortality is falling. But their longer lives are beset with health problems.

 While regional trends were largely consistent with global patterns, certain non-communicable diseases were much more prominent causes of premature death and disability in the region.

 Also, depression ranked fifth in the region, but ranked 11th globally. Meanwhile, anxiety disorders were the 13th cause of premature death and disability, but did not rank among the top 25 causes globally.

 The report’s co-creator, Dr Ali Mokdad, will present the findings at the 2nd Big Data Conference from January 28-29.

 “The data has clearly shown that the Arab world has made dramatic progress in reducing mortality and prolonging life. Over the last 20 years, premature death and disability for most communicable, newborn, nutritional, and maternal causes have decreased, with the exception of HIV/Aids,” said Dr. Mokdad, Director of Middle Eastern Initiatives and Professor of Global Health, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at the University of Washington.

 “Despite these improvements, a substantial disease burden from contagious communicable, newborn, nutritional, and maternal causes persists in the low-income countries of the Arab World.”

 The Arab Health Exhibition & Congress is open to all trade visitors and health care professionals from 10am-6pm, Monday to Thursday.

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