The island of Malta is a mixed bag when it comes to health. On the one hand, the average life expectancy in Malta is 80 years, up from 75 years in 1990. On the other hand, there are still some recurring – and even increasing – health problems, courtesy of some of the common diseases in Malta.
Malta boasts one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world; however, adult obesity is also a common disease in the country. Malta has developed the Healthy Weight for Life Strategy 2012 as a response, among other initiatives. Ischemic heart disease is the biggest cause of fatalities, responsible for 22 percent of all deaths in Malta in 2003. In addition, Malta has the highest rate of diabetes in Europe, despite an average calorie consumption comparable to much of the rest of the continent. This can be attributed to the high rate of sugar consumption in Malta.
A number of common diseases in Malta stem from the high rates of smoking there. Fortunately, the Ministry of Health has taken steps to inform the populace about the dangers of smoking. To this end Malta has ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003. Asthma is also common in Malta, partially because of the aforementioned popularity of cigarettes, but also due to the hot and humid climate.
There is still some good news regarding Malta’s general health. Some of this can be credited to Malta joining the European Union in 2004. Although also common diseases in Malta, the rates of cardiovascular diseases and cancer have been going down. In addition, Malta has taken a number of steps to be more proactive about mental health, such as the Mental Health Act of 2013, which was implemented to protect the rights of mental health patients. There have also been plans to address the needs of dementia sufferers.
While there are still a number of serious common diseases in Malta along with some other continuing health concerns, it is clear that the country is taking steps in the right direction to combat these diseases and hopefully the country will continue to see progress into the future.
– Andrew Revord