Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The greatest dangers to Jordanians

Al Ghad today has two interesting health related stories. The first involves a study on obesity in Jordan, claiming that 73% of adult Jordanians are overweight, and 46% have high blood cholesterol levels. By comparison, US levels obesity levels are around 65%. The researchers attribute these numbers to low levels of physical activity, as studies show that 50% of Jordanians don't exercise. The data in the article is somewhat contradictory, saying the rate of incidence of diabetes is 13%, and refering to a 1996 study which says that incidence rate for this disease was 76%. Have we conquered diabetes, or is there a problem with the sampling? Anyway, it is well known that obesity is closely related to cardiovascular disease as well as other nasty conditions.

The second story is about how the government is forcing cigarette companies to put a picture of diseased lungs on packs of cigarettes. The cigarette companies are complaining, saying that this might lower sales. Duh. I think that's the idea. Anyway, there is interesting data on the prevalence of smoking. In Jordan 50% of adult males and 18% of adult females smoke, as well as an alarming 21% in the 13 to 15 year old age group.

A study published last year (based on 2003 data) shows that 38% of deaths in Jordan can be attributed to heart disease, 14% to cancer and 11% to accidents. The King Hussein Cancer Center has data showing that lung cancer is the most prevalent type among males, with breast cancer being the most prevalent among females.

So, while Jordanians seem to have irrational fears about earthquakes, bird flu and nuclear leaks, they also seem to have irrational ambivalence towards the real dangers that affect their health, doing little to live healthier lives, exercise, fight first and second hand smoke and treat the roads with the reverence they deserve.

Are you still sitting there? Go for a walk, and stay on the sidewalk if you can.


At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great post Khalaf; thank you for ringing the danger bill so that we might wake up and do something before it is way too late

I have suffered from second hand smoking a lot in public transportation and workplaces, and as someone with a lazy thyroid like mine, overweight is actually a done deal ... but no one contacted me about these samples or surveys .. does that mean I am spared? LOL
Guess not ...

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well my studies show that most jordanians have conquered the fear of public speaking

so we're working on the rest of the list now: fear of death and fear of sky jumping

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hi Khalida: :)

Hi Nas: The biggest fear that needs to be overcome is the fear of being different. Only then will people have the guts to put on shorts and jog.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger moi said...

This is interesting news. I think the prevalence of smoking in Jordan is really alarming and simply out of control. I haven't seen any public or private indoor space in Jordan that has been able to ban smoking. The horror begins for me when I land in the airport and people just start puffing away, right under the "no smoking " sign. I was at a hospital visiting a sick relative a few years ago, and people were smoking!!! I always want to say something to those insensitive smokers but my family restrains me :(

On the weight issue, I'm really surprsised to hear about such high levels of overweight people in Jordan. However, your comparison with US obesity levels is somewhat inaccurate because being obese and being overweight are different (https://www.healthenvelope.com/healthenvelope/page/weightvs).
So I don't think that Jordan is ahead of the US in terms of obesity levels, yet.

There really needs to be a stronger awareness campaign, something like the "Jordan First" initiative (which I frankly don't know much about except the signs I see all over the place). Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are things that can really hurt the future in Jordan, and have a bad affect on the economy (besides the human affect). When will the government realize this?

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is now a new quit smoking drug available in the market. This latest breakthrough is known as Chantix. It is able to help smokers snub out their addiction by working on the brain.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Do you know why chantix is so popular for quite smoking. Because it gives very good results and FDA approved Chantix Pill for Quit smoking !


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