New Insurance Policy Includes Obesity Treatment in Saudi Arabia

Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Health stated that the ministry and the Health Insurance Council is currently studying a project to modify the medical insurance policy granted to individuals so that insurance can cover the cost of obesity and related diseases treatment . 

Noting that there are degrees of insurance policies, he is working to update it in order to ease the financial burden on the citizens who suffer from obesity, and other diseases associated with it. He also pointed out that the ministry aims to make the Saudi society healthy and better than all other global health communities through awareness and dissemination of health education in order to change the way of life and enhance the healthy food to help eliminate obesity disease which is rampant in the community, especially when it makes a financial burden on the family and the system of health sector. 

This study comes after a report from the Executive Office of the Council of the Ministry of Health of the Gulf which showed that the number of deaths due to obesity in Saudi Arabia is valued to 20 thousand cases per year, while the number of children with obesity in the kingdom are now about 3.5 million children, accounting that the obesity patients are 36% population, in additional to the Saudi children with heart disease and high blood pressure, diabetes and clogged arteries of the heart due to obesity pressure. 

Studies estimated that patients with excess weight costs Saudi Arabia 500 million riyals annually because of their reluctance to hospitals for treatment and that every child of every three children is suffering from obesity in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia is ranked according to the World Health Organization along with Qatar and Kuwait, among the highest obesity rates in the world. 

The Ministry of Health recently launched a campaign on its website to combat overweight and obesity; the campaign includes 14 hub includes phone assistance for those wishing to decrease their weight and a list of delicate-low-calorie recipes in addition to a table of calories and the importance of sport and how to consolidate the walking culture to reduce obesity in Saudi Arabia, especially among children. 

On the other hand, the Health Insurance Council is working on a letter questionnaire to improve the services and to identify the problems facing individuals with various insurance companies, wchich they are over 28 qualified companies, up by 37% than the past eight years, with 9.6 million subscriber in Saudi Arabia.