Health in Saudi Arabia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Government prioritization of preventive healthcare and environmental health began in 1925 following the establishment a public health department. The decision to create it came after a royal decree from King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.

The government announced plans to increase taxes on soft drinks and tobacco in December 2015.[1]


Across the whole population from 1995–2000, 36.9% were overweight and 35.6% were obese. Rates were high amongst children aged 5–17, as 16.7% of boys and 19.4% of girls were overweight. By 2006, 52% of men, 66% of women, 18% of teenagers, and 15% of preschoolers were overweight or obese.[2]

In 2008, 17.99% of deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease.[3] During this year, 95% of the 424,968 total appointments to diabetics clinics were made for Saudi citizens. 55% of these diabetic citizens were women and 44% were men.[3]

The latest national prevalence for childhood obesity (ages 5 to 18) in Saudi Arabia reported: 23.1% were overweight, 9.3% were obese and 2% were severely obese (2%) (El-Mouzan et al., 2010).[4]

Part of the reason for the high rate of overweight and obesity within the population are urban residents that consume hypercaloric foods while maintaining a sedentary lifestyle. The less-than physically demanding lifestyle urban residents lead is linked to a high level of education and income.[5] In addition, women had an increased risk of obesity because of cultural and religious beliefs that require women to stay at home as a housewife.[5] Women are prohibited from using hotel gyms and pools and are targets of harassment when they exercise publicly. This is based on the belief that giving women the freedom to exercise would lead to the corruption and decline of the nation. In schools, physical activity for girls is avoided because some fear that changing clothes outside of the home would cause girls to lose their shyness, an admirable moral quality.[2]


In June 2010, the Council of Ministers urged the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to restrict smoking at all airports and their facilities in the Kingdom, and strict rules were imposed. It also advised GACA to impose a fine of SR200 (US$53) on people who violate the new regulations.[6] Many commercial buildings and work places banned smoking at offices in an attempt to stop smoking in public places. In addition, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran launched a program in 2010 to make their university smoke-free, and Umm al-Qura University in Mecca launched a campaign with the same title[clarification needed] in 2011.[7] In May 2012, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh banned people from smoking in and around its buildings, the first such move in the country. The hospital implemented fines of SR200 for violations.

On 30 July 2012, Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz ordered the implementation of a royal ban on smoking in all government facilities (ministries, buildings, institutions, offices etc.)[8] and most indoor public places. The ban also prohibits smoking of hookahs in public places, and prohibits selling tobacco to anyone under 18.[9][10] On 1 December 2012, the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA) imposed a ban on smoking in all tourism facilities.[11]

See also[edit]

Health care in Saudi Arabia


  1. ^ "Saudi Arabia to raise domestic petrol prices by 'up to 40%' as low oil price hits home". Independent. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Fitness Sinful for Women in Saudi Arabia?".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  3. ^ a b Saudi Arabia: Health Statistical Year Book. 2008. 
  4. ^ El Mouzan, MI; Foster, PJ; Al Herbish, AS; Al Salloum, AA; Al Omer, AA; Qurachi, MM; Kecojevic, T (2010). "Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Saudi children and adolescents". Ann Saudi Med. 30: 203–8. doi:10.4103/0256-4947.62833. PMC 2886870Freely accessible. PMID 20427936. 
  5. ^ a b Al-Nuaim, Abdulrahman A (1997). Overweight and Obesity in Saudi Arabia Adult Population: Role of Socio-Demographic Variables. 
  6. ^ News, Arab. "Smoking banned at airports". Arab News. Archived from the original on 27 June 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Saudi Arabia stresses ban on public smoking". 1 August 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "Saudi Arabia stubs out smoking in public places". London: The Guardian. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Saudi Arabia Bans Smoking In Most Public Places". Huffington Post. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Riyadh bans smoking in tourist facilities". 2 December 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2013.