Chareidi and Bedouin kids are among the least fat in Israel, where more than one out of every four children was overweight in 2014, according to a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The report was released on the occasion of World Health Day, which takes place Thursday.
The report shows that the overall state of health among Israelis is good – but that it is better for some than for others. Among all Israelis, the average life span increased 3.2 years since 2000. For Jewish males, the average life span is 80.3 years, while Jewish women can expect to live 84.1 years. For Arabs, the averages for men and women are 4.3 years and 3.3 years less.
Of perhaps greatest concern is the infant mortality rate among Israeli Arabs. For Jews, that rate was 2.2 per thousand, one of the lowest in the world. Among Arabs, however, the rate is 6 per thousand. While that, too, was considered very good – in the U.S., the overall rate is 6.1 per thousand – officials said they would investigate the reasons for the gap and develop a plan to correct the situation.
Smoking is also a major problem among Arabs, especially men, 35.4 percent of whom smoke. Arab women, at 4.1 percent, are among the least likely to smoke. Overall, 21.9 percent of Israeli men smoke, as do 10.8 percent of women. In 2002, those figures were 28 percent and 15 percent respectively.
And obesity is slowly but surely making itself felt among Israeli children, as it has struck in many parts of the world. Twenty-one percent of first graders are overweight, the study showed. Among chareidi first graders, that number was substantially less, with 14 percent weighing in “over the limit.” Bedouin kids were among the least likely to be fat, with just 11 percent of first graders in that group overweight.