Survey Reveals Deterioration in Health of Israelis Since War Began

By Aryeh Stern

Smoke rises after the Israeli airforce hits southern Lebanon following Lebanese rockets hitting the northern Israeli Arab village of Arab al-Aramshe, Wednesday. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

A recent survey conducted by Maccabi Healthcare Services, Israel’s second-largest health maintenance organization (Kupat Cholim), indicates a significant decline in both physical and mental health among Israelis compared to pre-war conditions.

Conducted at the end of March, the survey polled over 1,000 Israelis aged 20-75, representing a cross-section of the country and all four of Israel’s HMOs. It aimed to assess the health status of Israelis six months into the war, referencing earlier data collected in 2023.

Findings from a pre-war survey by Maccabi showed 61% of participants rating their health as very good or excellent. This figure has since dropped to 46%. Additionally, whereas only 8% previously reported their health as moderate or very bad, that figure has now risen to 17%.

The impact is notably harsher among individuals with chronic diseases, with 35% reporting a worsening of their conditions. This decline is more pronounced in those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds compared to those with higher incomes.

Mental health has also suffered, with only 37% currently describing their emotional state as very good or excellent, down from 61% before Oct. 7. Moreover, since the onset of the war, a quarter of Israelis have sought mental health services.

Lifestyle changes have occurred as well, with half of the citizens sleeping worse and a 20% decrease in those maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Thirty-four percent of respondents have postponed or canceled regular doctor’s appointments, and 20% have delayed or canceled critical medical screenings, such as mammograms or colonoscopies.

The survey also highlighted gender and age disparities, revealing that more women than men perceive a decline in their physical and mental health, and that younger adults (ages 20-49) are faring worse than those aged 50 and above.

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