THE SPINE APRIL 27, 2010
Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are very rich. According to a New York Times article this morning by Michael Slackman, the first of these boasts the second highest per capita gross domestic product in the world. It has a population of 1.6 million, with only 250,000 native Qataris. That means citizens.
These Qataris rank “sixth globally for prevalence of obesity and has the highest rate of obesity among boys in the Middle East and North African region.” They will win no soccer cups. “A recent article in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan said that local health experts that, within five years, 73 percent of Qatari women and 69 percent of the men would qualify as obese.” And since obesity often leads to diabetes, Qatar also ranks fifth globally in terms of the proportion of people aged 20 to 79 with diabetes.
The Times writes that the four other countries following Qatar “all share similar struggles.”
What causes this obesity epidemic? I suppose wealth and eating. The article is accompanied by a photograph showing three men (only one of them fat) wearing white headgear and robes. They looked like they were eating Big Mac and fries.
Qatar also ranks “16th globally for the incidence of birth defects per 1000 live births ... Saudi Arabia ranked second globally.” This is no attributable to fast food. It is attributed to consanguineous marriages.
Don’t envy these folk.