The figures, which refer to 2011, point to 20% of men and 24% of women in Israel suffering from overweight, similar to the OECD average – 21% of men and 23% of women. Overall, 15.7% of the adult population in Israel suffers from overweight.
The report further reveals that doctors in Israel are older, fewer students graduate from medicine and nursing schools, yet Israelis are less ill than in the rest of the world.
The number of doctors over the age of 55 is the highest in Israel among all OECD countries - 49% of all doctors, while the OECD average is only 32%.
In addition, in Israel only 4.9 per 100,000 inhabitants graduate from medicine school, putting Israel in the last place among OECD countries, where the average is 10.6 per 100,000 population. Israel has been experiencing an upward trend in this field, after the number of students every year increased to 700. The average number of doctors per 1,000 inhabitants is slightly higher than the OECD average – 3.3.
The situation is quite grim in the nursing field as well, with only 11.4 nurses who complete their studies per 100,000 inhabitants. The situation is only worse in Mexico. The OECD average is much higher – 42.8 per 100,000 population.
The report further shows that there is a serious shortage of doctors, which is one of the reasons why the Israeli health system is finding it difficult to provide accessible health services for all residents.
"We have been warning that this shortage is seven times more serious because unlike most developed countries in the world, the number of doctors in Israel is in a constant decrease and in the coming years we are expecting the retirement of thousands of doctors who arrived in Israel in the early 1990s," the Israel Medical Association (IMA) said in a statement.
IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Edelman added that "the shortage in doctors is part of the problem of under-investment in health, and is the mother of all diseases in the health system, which affects the health and life of the residents."
Good news: Fewer deaths
It should be noted that 2012 was the first year in many which recorded a rise in the number of nursing school graduates, after the number of students doubled itself.
Another concern stems from the fact that such a small number of people are supposed to care for a high number of patients: In Israel the average occupancy rate of hospital beds is 98%, the highest number among all OECD countries, where the average is 78%.
Despite the shortage of labor and hospital beds, the cancer mortality rate in Israel is relatively low compared to other OECD countries. A total of 219 men and 167 women per 100,000 inhabitants died of cancer, compared to the OECD average of 278 men and 166 women. Overall, Israel is in the eighth place out of 33 countries.
In the past 20 years the cancer mortality rate dropped 10% compared to an average drop of 14% in the OECD.
Israel is in the 11th place among 33 countries in deaths from heart diseases – 79.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 122.2 in OECD countries. The mortality rate fell by 63% in the past 20 years, compared to an average of 42% in OECD countries.
In total, 82% of the population over the age of 15 reported being in good health, much higher than the OECD average of 68%.
The report further reveals that 80% of the public have a supplementary or private health insurance, a significant increase since 2000, when only 65% of the public purchased such an insurance. Only in France (96.1%) and Holland (89%) there are more residents who don't settle for the services provided by the State. Of the American public, 60.6% purchases additional insurances, in Germany – 31.9, and in Switzerland – 29.5%.