70pc of Saudis suffer from obesity.
About 37 per cent of Saudi Arabian women face weight-related problems, which are compounded because health insurance does not cover obesity surgery, said the Arab News report.
A whopping SR500 million ($133.3 million) per year was spent by people suffering from obesity on treatment, especially diabetes which is prevalent among a large section of Saudis, including women, said a recent study.
The disease had spread at an alarming rate of 30 per cent in the past 10 years, it was revealed at an international obesity conference in Al Khobar recently.
Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health is currently developing a national strategy to combat obesity and is to set up a national centre for obesity surgery at the King Fahd Medical City, with five similar centres across the kingdom in the pipeline, Dr Ayed Al-Qahtani, consultant obesity surgeon was quoted as saying.
The issue of obesity surgery not being covered under health insurance while it is classified as a disease and is covered under insurance all over the world has also been raised, he said.
The conference also reviewed the latest methods for prevention and treatment of complications arising out of obesity surgery, said the report.
A three-day exhibition and forum, entitled 'Your health is your responsibility,' to be held from April 26, will focus on obesity and related issues. It is being organised by Dima, an events management firm, in collaboration with the King Khaled University and the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, it added.
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