MOH News
Minister of Health Announces the Results of the National Survey for the Health Information in the Kingdom
09 March 2014
On Sunday, 9/3/2014, with the attendance of many scientific bodies, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the results of the national survey for the health information in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to a recent study conducted by the MOH in collaboration with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of Washington University. Such a study comes in line with the recommendations of the international conference on the healthy lifestyles and non-communicable diseases, held under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, may Allah protect him, in Riyadh, on 10-12/9/2012.
Meanwhile, his Excellency the Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah pointed out that the research study were conducted by the MOH in cooperation with theWashington University. The study draws on a sample representing the Saudi community. It includes the entire administrative regions: 13 ones, in coordination with the Central Department of Statistic and Information. It comprised the adults whose ages are over 15 years. He went on to add that obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol level, as well as smoking are among the most outstanding risk factors instrumental to increasing the incidence rate among the Saudi community members.
In similar fashion, the he remarked that the non-communicable diseases are among the major health problems in all communities worldwide, and it will keep on increasing unless the proper procedures are taken to prevent them. He also draws attention that the MOH mount intense campaigns to detect these diseases and to diagnose them; with the aim of protecting against them, and hence medically intervening in case of developing any of them.  Even more, he emphasized that the MOH's optimal goal is to prevent and protect against getting afflicted with these diseases, in addition to providing the healthcare services for the patients.
Within the same vein, the study results showed that the diabetes spread rate reached 13.4%, of which males' percentage is 14.8% whereas females' percentage is 11.7%. Further, the rate rises as age progresses, to the effect that it amounted to 7.8% of the 25 - 34 age group, and it reaches up to 50.4% of the 65 and over age group. Furthermore, the study underlined that the males' pre-diabetes spread rate reached up to 17%, equaling 1.29 million patients. And as regards females, it amounted to 15.5%, equaling 1.1 million patients. Even more, according to the study, the number of diabetics in the Kingdom is estimated at 1.1 million in terms of males, of which there are 546 thousands taking diabetes-related medicines and 275 thousands of the diabetic males cannot control it.  In addition to this, the study revealed that 775 thousands of females are afflicted with diabetes, of which there are 356 thousands taking diabetic-related medicine. On the other hand, 196 thousands of the femaleswith diabetes cannot control it.
Also, the study indicated that according to the body mass index (BMI) 30 kgms/m2, the obesity spread rate reached up to 28.7%. The females registered the highest rate by 33.5% in comparison to 24.1% in terms of males. Also, the obesity spread rate rises as age progresses, to the effect that it reached its highest in the 55-64 age group by 48.0%. Not only that, the study also showed that the morbid obesity incidence rate of the 40 Kgms/m2 BMI get as much as 2.5% in terms of males compared to 4.7% in terms of females.
For his part, Dr. Ziyad Memish, the Deputy Minister for Public Health made clear that the results of this research will be capitalized on in terms of the sound planning; with the aim of improving fighting the risk factors that can be averted. He further stressed that improving the nutritional system and increasing the physical activity will play an important role in reducing the spread rate of the non-communicable diseases.
Still, the results of the health survey underlined that the hypertension spread rate amounted to 15.1%, of which males registered 17.7% whereas females registered 12.5%. Also, the hypertension incidence rate increases as the age advances, to the effect that the highest incidence rate was registered in the 65 and over age group by 65.2%.Similarly, the males' pre-hypertension spread rate reached up to 46.5%, equaling 3.04 million patients whereas the females' pre-hypertension spread rate registered 34.3%, equaling 2.18 million patients. 
The study underlined that the number of hypertension estimated at 1.16 million male patients, as well as 705 thousand female patients. This brings the total percentage up to 15.1%. Further, 500 thousand males and 415 thousand females were diagnosed with it. On the other hand, those treated from hypertension are estimated at 383 thousand males and 353 thousand females, given that 220 thousand males and 170 thousand females afflicted with hypertension cannot control it.     
As far as exercising is concerned, the survey found that over half of the Saudi females do not exercise at all whereas 29% of them practice a light physical activity. As regards males, the percentage of males not doing any physical activity at all amounted to 33%, and the same percentage goes for those practicing the light physical activity.
As regards the high cholesterol, the high cholesterol spread rate got up to 8.5%: the males registered 9.5% whereas females accounted for 7.3%.The incidence rates increases as the age progresses, to the effect that the highest incidence rate turned out to be in the 65 and over age group by 28.7%. Further, those suffering from high cholesterol levels in the Kingdom estimated at 653 thousand males and 461 thousand females. Even more, the survey indicated that the males' pre-high blood cholesterol spread rate amounted to 19.5%, equaling 1.31 millions. On the other hand, the females' pre-high cholesterol spread rate reached up to 20.6%, equaling 1.24 millions. It is worth mentioning that 90% of them cannot control their blood cholesterol. As far as the smoking is concerned, the survey showed the number of male smokers increased. Currently, the smokers' percentage reached up to 11.4%. Males amounted to 21.5% whereas females registered 1.1%. As regards the hookah (Shisha) smoking, males registered 20.9%.
As far as the vegetable and fruit consumption is concerned, the percentage of those consuming more than five rations of vegetables and fruits daily only amounted to 7.6%. Although the chronic disease incidence as well as smoking rate rise increased, the survey indicated that 75% of the Saudi community members have not conducted routine medicalexamination at all.
For his part, Dr. Miqdad, the international health professor of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at Washington University expressed his surprise at the Saudi citizens not benefiting from providing the health services for free in the kingdom and taking advantage of that by conducting the regular preventive medical examination. He went on to say "I was surprised at noticing that in a country where the healthservices are provided for freeand within everyone's reach, yet, the preventive service advantages are not turned into account. Further, citizens only visit the doctor when they get ill." He went on pointing out that there is an ongoing debate in the United States on delivering the inclusive health services as applied in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  
He went on to add that the cooperation between the Saudi MOH and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of Washington University resulted in launching some initiatives in order to face the health challenges in the Kingdom. He also noted that currently, the MOH works on conducting census for the scope of the primary healthcare centers to evaluate the community needs. This aims to deliver better health services and encourage the early detection for diseases, as well as establishing a distinctive center for the healthmetrics in the Saudi MOH.

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