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Isr Med Assoc J. 2013 Mar;15(3):137-42.

Health ramifications of the Gush Katif evacuation.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine, Shaarei Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Following the 2005 evacuation of Gush Katif, a community of Jewish settlements located in the greater Gaza Strip, many evacuees reported a deterioration in their health status.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine if and to what degree the evacuation of Gush Katif caused a worsening in the health status of the evacuees.

METHODS:

In this retrospective cohort study we assessed the medical records of 2962 evacuees for changes in prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and ischemic heart disease in the period beginning 1 year before and ending 5 years after the evacuation. The findings were compared to those for the general israeli population. A questionnaire was distributed to 64 individuals to assess lifestyle and social change.

RESULTS:

An increase in diabetes and hypertension was found in men aged 45-64. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the 45-54 male group rose from 8.7% in 2004 to 12.6% in 2007 to 18.7% in 2010; in the 55-64 age group it rose from 24.6% in 2004 to 29.9% in 2007 to 32.9% in 2010. Hypertension in 45-64 year old men rose from 27.1% in 2004 to 35.12% in 2010. The increases in diabetes were significant and higher than those in the general population. The increases in hypertension were of similar magnitude. The prevalence of heart disease did not change and is similar to that in the general population. The questionnaire sample showed an increase in depression and overweight.

CONCLUSIONS:

The Gush Katif evacuation appears to be associated with increased morbidity of chronic disease. This may be attributed to any of several mechanisms, with unemployment, depression, inactivity and overweight playing significant roles. Preventive medical interventions and measures should be employed to screen and treat this population which underwent a major stressful event and as a result seem at greater risk than their peers.

PMID:
23662374
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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