I blogged about Jordanians being the fattest people in the world a few months back. I still find the numbers alarming.
Recently the government is launching campaigns to promote healthier lifestyles by combating obesity and smoking.
During a press conference, Minister of Health Saeed Darwazeh said the six-month campaign, which is part of the programme Ã¢??Our Health, Our Responsibility,Ã¢?Â will focus on promoting proper healthy practices such as encouraging physical exercise in order to prevent the prevalence of chronic diseases.
According to 2005 ministry figures, 68 per cent of men and 71 per cent of women in the country are considered obese, while 3.5 per cent of teenagers aged between 13-15 years suffer from obesity due to unhealthy eating habits adopted by children in schools. [source]
According to ministry statistics, 48 per cent of Jordanian males over 25 smoke, while the proportion of female smokers in the same age group is 18 per cent.
Moreover, 34 per cent of children aged between 13-15 smoke cigarettes and other tobacco products.
An average of 3,300 cancer cases are reported annually in the Kingdom and a third of those patients are smokers, according to the ministry.
Darwazeh said the Kingdom had banned promotional ads for cigarettes and requested that tobacco production companies put graphics on cigarette packets to discourage smokers.
3,300 cancer cases! And I’m assuming these are people who smoke the really cheap Jordanian brands. Can you imagine the burden on the economy? Sick days, efficiency, hospital bills.
I think what I find more alarming are the 13 to 15 year old age group. 34% smoke?! It’s a very scary statistic.
What’s strange about Jordan is that I know families who swear they would kill their kid if they found out he or she was smoking but at the same time allow them to smoke argeelah, or hubbly bubbly or whatever you want to call that crap. It’s become the most negative part of our culture.
Why don’ they stop under age kids who pack the cafes from at least ordering an argeelah? Instead you have cafes who have cigarette companies send a bunch of a girls to sell kids their product!
So families support the habit, cigarette companies obviously support the habit, and not to mention peer pressure.
As for obesity, itÃ¢??s mind boggling how a country where people are so poor can eat so much. The irony here is that there are probably more poor people who are fat than there are rich people. I think this may be because of urbanization. In the past most poor people made their living through agriculture. They would as families farm their lands and sell the goods. This was really up until recently. Now the poor don’t have any hard labor jobs, they’ve moved away from the fields and into shops or even factories.
The rich on the other hand can afford healthier lifestyles. Foods, gyms etc. Things have really changed.
Right: The Rich & The Poor Before
Left: The Rich & The Poor Now