Israel’s Health Ministry Responds To Report Of “Diabetes Epidemic” In Chareidi Sector

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Israel’s Health Ministry responded to the report on the high rate of diabetes in the Chareidi sector published by Kol Chai this week.

The Health Ministry stated: “Diabetes mortality data appear in a file of the Central Bureau of Statistics as part of the health profile of localities in Israel. It can be seen that, for example, in the city of Bnei Brak – the standardized mortality rate for diabetes for those aged 45 and over is 114 per 100,000, compared to 93 per 100,000 in the general population.”

“Additionally, an initial analysis of data from the Diabetes Registry shows that there is a higher rate of diabetes per 100,000 people in most age groups in the Chareidi sector compared to the general population.”

“The Health Ministry is formulating a plan to promote health in general, including the phenomenon of diabetes in the Chareidi sector with consideration of its various characteristics, in cooperation with the Authority for the Socioeconomic Development of Chareidi Society in the Social Equality Ministry.”

Yesh Atik MK Moshe Tur-Paz sent a letter to the Health Minister following the Kol Chai report, criticizing the government for allocating millions of shekels to improve health resources in the Arab sector while allocating no resources to the Chareidi sector.

“In light of the Kol Chai report, in which data on diabetes morbidity in the Chareidi sector were presented…this alarming trend indicates a lack of awareness of the dangers of diabetes in the Chareidi sector,” Tur-Paz wrote in a letter addressed to Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz). “According to the data revealed this week by the Health Ministry, it appears that the Ministry invested about NIS 650 million in an awareness campaign for the Arab sector, whereas no funds were invested in the Chareidi sector.”

“This is a public that isn’t connected to the broadcast media and reaching the public in information campaigns requires a lot of resources…I would like to know if there is an organized plan for the treatment of the issue in the ministry you head.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Whether diabetes is even a disease is debateable. Arguably, Type II Diabetes is the result of being overweight and underexercised. Unlike an “epidemic”, you don’t catch or get disabetes. The best solution is to eat less (in terms of calories) and exercise more (boycott use of motorized transportation?). If look at all the gedolim from before the 20th century, they got along fine eating less and doing a lot more walking (note: the medical profession gets no revenue from people eating less and walking more, which is probably why the “experts” are focuses on all sorts of drugs).

  2. Type II diabetes is a matter of insulin resistance. I was diagnosed 4 years ago and after a year of lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) I got my A1C down to ‘normal’ numbers. I continued to test 4x a day for a year and my numbers were all within normal ranges. It is a matter of education. My health care providers had a wonderful and extensive series of classes on what to do if you are diagnosed type II. This is only a health care crisis is those diagnosed ignore medical advice.

  3. This is what happens when you have socialized medicine. The government can comment/criticize and/or take action against certain groups or individuals based on the system of rationed health care.

  4. Chareidim have to invest in more wholesome foods and find more time for exercise since these aren’t promulgated or emphasized as worthwhile pursuits in many of the educational places, and in the past, people knew them more intuitively, but we haven’t learned to demand these things in this era in the marketplace as much as secular people generally have.

  5. From a statistical perspective the diabetes death rates is not that much higher among chareidim than I might have expected and the rates for ALL segments of the population are too high. In the U.S., which has the highest rates of diabetes among major developed countries, the rate of diabetes varies considerably more across demographic groups and regions. Less affluent tates such as West Virginia, Mississippi etc. have a 15 percent rate of diabetes compared to a 10+ percent national average. Likewise, Asian ethnic groups have among the lowest rates compared to black and hispanic groups by a much wider margin than the Chareidi/Secular differentials.

  6. In addition to diet and exercise, research has repeatedly found a clear association between low vitamin D levels in patients with insulin resistance and a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes,  Charedim stay indoors a lot and even when outside do not absorb sunlight because of long-sleeved clothing.