Health Survey: Israelis Have High Rate Of Obesity, Don’t Exercise

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Israelis have a high rate of obesity compared to the rest of the world, don’t exercise enough, and smoke too much were the dismal results of Israel’s fourth national health survey published on Tuesday.

The survey, carried out by the Health Ministry’s National Center for Disease Control, was based on phone interviews with 4,135 Israelis aged 21 and over, of whom 2,710 were Jews and 1,425 were Arabs.

Over half (56%) of the respondents reported that they are overweight or obese, with the rate higher among Arabs (61.3%) than Jews (54.8%), and the highest rate among Arab men, with almost two-thirds (65.9%) falling into the category of overweight or obese.

About two-thirds of the interviewees admitted that they don’t comply with Health Ministry recommendations for exercise, with only 29.8% of the Jews and 26.3% of the Arabs complying with recommendations.

One in five Israelis smokes, with the rate among Arabs higher (24.4%) than Jews (19.1%). The highest smoking rate is among Arab men (38.2%), 1.7 times that of Jewish men (22.6%).

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I find that hard to believe. Yea smoking is rampant, but obesity? I was there recently and noticed how in-shape many Israelis are. Figured it was the military background/training/fitness for a lot of the population.

  2. Wow, Medinas Yisrael is a developed country. We should be nostalgic for the days when it was a poor, underdeveloped country, where most people got plenty of exercise (most people couldn’t afford cars or transit, if they even existed), and few people had to worry about obesity (not having enough to eat solves the problem).

  3. Nowayjose: Out of the total population, very few are in the military or even reserves, and since the Israeli army used “jobniks” (rather than outsourcing to civilian contractors), many soldiers can get away with being less than fit.

  4. The results are skewed, for starters most frum ppl don’t have the patience for phone surveys, the Arab factor also throws things off..a few observations..more smoking unfortunately yes, eat way more bread , yes that’s why dips are so popular, but I think they eat smaller quantities did u ever see a Isreal grocery doing deliveries with 6 moshes boxes per house?, I also think they walk a lot more, we take the car to shul in the colony

  5. Nonsense! I live here. Most Israelis are quite skinny, especially the kids. The ladies might not all be sticks, because they had many pregnancies. And there isn’t as much emphasis on looks. People are accepted for who they are.
    Most of us walk at least a mile a day, unintentionally. While many people do have cars, I think the majority don’t. And there are A LOT of women walkers hiking up the hills here at 6 oclock in the morning, to get their intentional exercise in, before the kids and hubby wake up.
    And so, I totally disagree