Background. Cancer, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes together comprise almost 70% of the causes of death in Israel. Dietary factors such as total caloric intake, saturated fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids, trace elements, vitamins, certain proteins, and fiber have all been suggested as playing a role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Aim. In this study, patterns of mortality and morbidity (where available) for selected diseases were compared between the Jewish and Arab population groups in Israel. Methods. Data on cause-specific mortality in Israel between 1973 and 1994 were obtained from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Age- adjusted rates for selected diseases were compared between the Jewish and Arab population groups. Results. Until 1987, the age-adjusted ischemic heart disease mortality rates in the Arab population were slightly lower than those in the Jewish population. Since 1990, they have been slightly higher. Cerebrovascular disease mortality rates have consistently been higher in the Arab population and the gap has been increasing. Similarly, the mortality rates for diabetes mellitus were slightly higher in the Arab population during the 1970 and 1980s and the gap has increased markedly. On the other hand, age-adjusted mortality rates from colorectal cancer are about three times as high and breast cancer mortality rates about twice as high in the Jewish population. The differences for incidence rates are even greater. Conclusions. This study demonstrates the contradictory mortality rates for cardiovascular disease as compared with colon and breast cancer in the Jewish and Arab population. While representative dietary data for the populations are lacking, there is evidence that the dietary patterns of the Jewish and Arab population groups differ in many important aspects. It is possible that this may at least partly explain the contradictory differences in mortality and morbidity. The national nutrition surveys currently being initiated by the Ministry of Health should contribute to a better understanding of this subject.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Public Health Reviews|
|State||Published - 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Community and Home Care
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health