Thursday, October 30, 2014

Starvation in Gaza? No, Obesity in Gaza.

One of the most enduring myths of the struggle in the Middle East is that Israel is starving Gaza, or that "Israel has put Gaza on a diet". This lie is perpetuated by extremist groups like JVP that offer flyers for download on their website accusing Israel of “slowly starving” the people of Gaza.

JVP Lies

 It is also perpetuated by individuals such as Norwegian Doctor Mads Gilbert who knowingly promote falsified statistics

The reality is something very different. Its been well documented in peer reviewed medical journals.

There is an avoidable public health crisis in Gaza.  Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease are increasing dramatically. This is all associated with Western levels of obesity in the Gaza Strip. Obesity is also at epidemic levels in the West bank

A recent article Obesity and overweight: prevalence and associated socio demographic factors among mothers in three different areas in the Gaza Strip-Palestine: a cross-sectional study from BMC  Obesity  aimed at determining the prevalence of obesity and overweight cases among mothers aged 18–50 years in  Gaza from June 2012 to September 2012. Obesity and overweight rates in urban areas, refugee camps, and rural areas were found to be 57.0%, 66.8%, and 67.5%, respectively. The results showed that obesity and being overweight were highly prevalent among women, with  independent predictors of obesity in the population studied including increasing age, high income, and not working outside the home.
A paper, Overweight and Obesity among Palestinian Adults: Analyses of the Anthropometric Data from the First National Health and Nutrition Survey published in the Journal of Obesity  documented that over  sixty percent of the Palestinian population between 18 and 64 years old were overweight (38.0%) or obese (24.4%), but did not differentiate between  the population in Gaza and the West bank.

The paper speculated

It is probable that the high consumption of foods rich in fats and calories and the sedentary lifestyle among most communities in this Region played an important role in the rise of obesity. This is particularly salient with regard to the shift from traditional foods to more westernized foods, which are characterized by high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium, and low fibre

Just some food for thought, for the next time someone tells you about "starving" Gaza.

1 comment:

Stephen Franklin said...

In a related study ( on healthy eating in 7 Arab countries, 50.9% of Palestinians ( said that the cost of healthy foods was not for them a barrier to eating healthily.