The Gulf has a mounting problem with obesity, which is associated with metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Saudi health experts have previously blamed urbanization, addiction to smartphones, lack of exercise and the prevalence of fast food for unhealthy lifestyles that lead to obesity and diabetes.
As the region struggles with the growing cost of these conditions, Saudi Arabia's health minister Khaled al-Falih has said that obesity and diabetes threaten Gulf states' economic health as well as human well-being
Falih said, "With most Gulf citizens aged under 30, overweight people and diabetes threaten the wealth of our society and that is the youth. 15-20% of people in Gulf countries suffer from diabetes."
The minister cited a global study which suggests that the cost of treating diabetes was $500 billion (440 billion euros) in 2011, and it is set to reach $750 billion by 2030.
Falih said, "They take up so much financial cost and medical effort that could be better channeled towards achieving valuable medical goals in research and development of health services."