Chronic non-communicable diseases are a major cause of death and disability for people in Kuwait and in 2013 were reported to be responsible for 72% of all deaths in Kuwait according to the published World Health Organization (WHO) “Country Health Profile – Kuwait Report”. A huge contribution to this increased incidence is attributed to the population being overweight or obese. We have seen a rise in body mass index (BMI) in the population over the course of previous years and are expecting the same kind of rise in years to come.
The global prevalence of diabetes continues to rise. The prevalence of diabetes was estimated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to be 9.3% in 2019, increased from 4.6% in 2000 in adults aged 20–79 years. The age-adjusted prevalence of adult diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which includes Kuwait, was 12.2%, the highest estimated prevalence of all the IDF regions. Prevalence in the MENA region is expected to increase to 13.9% by 2045.
Kuwait is a small country nestled between Iraq and Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Peninsula. The economic transformation has led to rapid urbanization, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical exercise, which has in turn led to a rise in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). A recent World Health Organization (WHO) STEPS cross-sectional survey found that almost 80% of Kuwaiti adults were overweight or obese in 2014, and almost 40% had diabetes or prediabetes. The socioeconomic burden of this mounting public health challenge has been large; Kuwait spends over $1000 (USD) per adult with diabetes, and NCDs were estimated to be the cause of 72% of all deaths in Kuwait in 2016.
Moreover, Diabetes has become widespread and is now becoming more and more recognized as a public health concern for the country. Although some statistics exist, they are likely underreporting the true incidence of diabetes in the country.