Survey Finds Israelis Overweight, Not Exercising Enough

By Hamodia Staff

 An Israeli man exercises with his masked trainer at the Mati gym club of Malkha in Yerushalayim during the pandemic (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — Most Israelis admit to being overweight and not getting enough exercise, according to an annual Health Ministry survey released on Tuesday.

About two-thirds of Israelis do not exercise at levels recommended by experts, and more than half told pollsters they are overweight or obese.

The findings were published by the ministry’s National Center for Disease Control and based on data collected between 2018 and 2020. The information is compiled to help the authorities formulate appropriate health policies for the population.

Lack of physical activity has been linked to certain types of cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Some 56% of the general population is overweight or obese. That rate is higher among Arabs (61.3%) compared to Jews (54.8%). Arab men had the highest (65.9%) obesity and overweight rate.

The survey took as its definition when the BMI index is between 25 and 29.99, while obesity is defined by a BMI equal to or higher than 30. Body mass index (BMI) is the body weight divided by the square of the height in meters.

The overweight and obesity rate in Israel is high compared to many other Western countries. Only 29.8% of the Jews and 26.3% of the Arabs complied with the recommendations, which are to engage in aerobic physical activity at medium intensity for at least 150 cumulative minutes per week or 75 minutes per week at high intensity.

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