News Details

Kuwaitis live longer than other Arabs
 Sun, 01 Aug 2010

KUWAIT: A recently published study shows that Kuwaitis are likely to live longer than any other Arab peoples. With an average life expectancy of 77.6 years, Kuwait came the first in the Arab world, followed by the UAE and Bahrain with 77.4 and 65.4 years respectively. The study, carried out by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) measured life expectancy rates in these countries in the period between the 2005 and 2010, predicting that life expectancy rates at birt
h in "both Kuwait and UAE [will] continue rising to reach 82 years by mid-century.

It also revealed that the lowest life expectancy rates in the Arab world are in Somalia and Djibouti, whose citizens have an average life expectancy of 49.6 and 55.3 respectively. The study found that the average life expectancy in the Arab world over the last five years was 69.2 years, with females living on average almost four years longer at 71.2 to 67.5 for males.

A senior Ministry of Health (MoH) official said that the study's positive results were a consequence of Kuwait's good health infrastructure, relatively high GDP, prosperous lifestyle and high level of literacy and education. At the same time, said MoH Public Health Consultant Dr. Ahmad Al-Shatti, while the life expectancy index is one life quality indicator, it is not the only one that should be looked at.

What is most important is that people live a healthy and happy life, not only a long one," Dr. Al-Shatti stressed. "The focus must be on investing in health, rather than spending on ill people," he asserted. "I'm talking about chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and combating smoking, which form the real challenges facing the health authorities in Kuwait.

Al-Shatti noted that Kuwait still has a long way to go in increasing the life expectancy of Kuwaiti people to the level of those in developed nations, and to do this, it has to work on different levels. "First of all is to promote a healthy lifestyle and invest in public health, and reduce risk factors as I said before; on the other hand, we should concentrate on developing health facilities, which is already in not a bad situation in Kuwait," he explained.

Al-Shatti stressed that health is a collective public responsibility. "Everyone is responsible for this," he emphasized. "We need to know what we eat, how to eat, and when to eat; for example, we can't just eat whatever we want and not move and burn those calories we consume. That's why knowledge is a key challenge in both promoting a healthy life and increasing life expectancy.

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