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Malta – Health Issues

Malta is a small Mediterranean island country with a population of approximately 514,564 people. The country has a well-developed healthcare system that is ranked highly by the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite this, the population still faces several health issues, some of which are unique to Malta. In this article, we will explore some of the common health issues in Malta and the attitudes towards smoking.

Common Health Issues in Malta

Obesity

Obesity is a growing health concern in Malta, with approximately one in three adults classified as overweight or obese. According to the European Health Information Gateway, the prevalence of obesity among Maltese adults is higher than the EU average, with approximately 26% of the population being classified as obese. This trend is worrying as obesity is linked to an increased risk of several chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death in Malta. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CVD accounts for approximately 40% of deaths in Malta. This high prevalence is attributed to several factors, including an aging population, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and smoking.

Cancer


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Cancer is a significant health concern in Malta, with approximately 1,400 new cases diagnosed each year. The most common types of cancer in Malta are breast, colorectal, and lung cancer. The incidence of cancer is higher in men than women, and the prevalence of lung cancer is particularly worrying, as it is closely linked to smoking.

Mental Health

Mental health is a growing concern in Malta, with an increasing number of people seeking treatment for anxiety and depression. According to the Malta Health Observatory, approximately one in four Maltese adults experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime. The prevalence of mental health disorders is higher in women than men, and the most common disorders are anxiety and mood disorders.

Smoking in Malta

Smoking Prevalence

Smoking is still prevalent in Malta, with approximately 16% of the adult population being regular smokers. While this is a decrease from previous years, smoking is still a concern, particularly among younger age groups. According to the European Health Information Gateway, smoking prevalence is higher among males than females, with approximately 21% of males being regular smokers compared to 11% of females.

Attitudes Towards Smoking

Attitudes towards smoking in Malta have shifted over the years, with an increasing number of people supporting smoke-free policies. According to a survey conducted by the Malta Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate, approximately 85% of the population supports smoke-free laws in public places. Additionally, there is a growing awareness of the health risks associated with smoking, with an increasing number of smokers attempting to quit.

Legislation

Malta has implemented several measures to reduce smoking prevalence and protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. The most significant legislation is the Tobacco (Smoking Control) Act, which prohibits smoking in enclosed public places, including workplaces, bars, and restaurants. The law also requires tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging with graphic health warnings. Additionally, Malta has implemented several tobacco control campaigns aimed at increasing awareness of the health risks associated with smoking.

In conclusion, Malta faces several health challenges, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental health disorders. Smoking prevalence is also a concern, particularly among younger age groups. However, the government has implemented several measures to address these issues, including tobacco control legislation and awareness campaigns. With continued efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce smoking prevalence, Malta can improve the health outcomes of its population.


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