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Panama – Health Issues

Panama is a country located in Central America, with a population of approximately 4 million people. The country has made significant strides in improving healthcare services, but still faces various health challenges that require attention. In this article, we will discuss some of the common health issues affecting the population in Panama and examine smoking prevalence and legislation.

Common Health Issues in Panama

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are one of the leading causes of mortality in Panama, accounting for approximately 25% of all deaths. CVDs include various conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Risk factors for CVDs in Panama include unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and smoking.


Diabetes is a significant health issue in Panama, with an estimated 12% of the population diagnosed with the condition. Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent form of the disease in Panama and is linked to obesity and physical inactivity.


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Obesity is a growing concern in Panama, with approximately 60% of the adult population classified as overweight or obese. Obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases such as dengue fever, Zika, and Chikungunya are endemic in Panama. The country also faces occasional outbreaks of diseases such as H1N1 and measles. The government has implemented various measures to control and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including vaccination campaigns and mosquito control programs.

Smoking in Panama


Smoking prevalence in Panama has decreased in recent years, with approximately 8% of the population reported as smokers in 2020. However, smoking remains a significant health concern, particularly among men, with smoking rates higher among men than women.


Smoking is generally viewed as a negative habit in Panama, with a strong public perception that smoking is harmful to health. However, attitudes towards smoking may vary among different age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.


Panama has implemented various measures to reduce smoking prevalence and protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke. These measures include a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, restrictions on tobacco advertising, and the implementation of graphic warning labels on tobacco products. The legal age for purchasing tobacco products in Panama is 18 years old, and the sale of tobacco products is prohibited to minors.

In conclusion, Panama faces various health challenges, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and infectious diseases. The country has implemented measures to address these health issues, but more needs to be done to reduce the burden of these diseases. Smoking prevalence in Panama has decreased, but smoking remains a significant health concern. The government has implemented legislation to reduce smoking prevalence and protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, but continued efforts are necessary to further reduce smoking rates in the country.