Obesity in Kuwait

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The rise and prevalence of obesity in Kuwait (and the wider Gulf region) has been well documented with 36% of men and 48% of women being nationally classified as obese while 74% of men and 77% of women are overweight or obese. (Obes Rev. 2011 Jan;12(1):1-13). 10% are classified morbidly obese. Actually, the numbers are worse: Only 12 percent of Kuwaitis have a BMI below 25. According to a study published in June by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, using data from the World Health Organization, Kuwait is the second-most obese nation in the world, behind the US, creating the need for bariatric surgery. As waistlines in Kuwait and across the Gulf have expanded over the last seven years, so too has the business of bariatric surgery. Ten years ago there were only few bariatric surgeons in Kuwait. Today, there are 50 surgeons involved in bariatric procedures (private and governmental hospitals) and this number will increase.

Of all the bariatric procedures, Laparoscopic sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG) has been gaining popularity in the region. Our data indicates that the number LSG procedures have increased dramatically from 1481 in 2010 to over 4795 cases in 2014. At present there are over 6,000 people in Kuwait that underwent bariatric procedures. A recent worldwide survey published in Obesity Surgery in 2013 of 42 countries conducted by the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity & Metabolic Disorders, reported that Kuwait has the highest numbers of operations performed as a percentage of national population. The rise in bariatric procedures in not just limited to Kuwait; the whole region is facing a dramatic rise in the number of procedures.

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