Maccabi survey: Israel’s health Ccisis deepens amid Israel-Hamas war

Science and Health

According to the latest survey of Maccabi Healthcare Services, the proportion of Israelis who view their health condition as average or poor has more than doubled compared to the period before October 7.

Fully 35% of adults who are insured by the country’s second-largest health fund and who suffer from chronic diseases reported a feeling of worsening of their condition. In addition, Maccabi reported an increase of more than 150% in those who reported a moderate or poor mental state compared to the period before the war.

The survey was conducted at the end of March among a representative sample of more than 1,000 adult members of all health insurance funds in Israel, aged 20 to 75.

The number of Israelis who testify that their health is excellent or very good has decreased by 25% since before the war (from 61% to 46%) while twice as many say that theirs is moderate or poor (increasing from 8% to 17%).

Every fourth Israeli admitted that they felt a need to receive psychological help from professionals, while half said that they sleep less well than before October 7. There has also been a drop of 20% in adults who follow a healthful lifestyle.

Doctors at BGU’s Medical School, Assuta Ashdod (Illustrative). (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Women view their health more negatively than men

Only 41% of women judged their health as excellent or very good compared to 51% of men, while 36% of women indicated a change in their health condition for the worse compared to 23% of men. Younger people reported a change for the worse in their general health status – 33% in the 20-49 age range compared to 23% in the 50 and over age group. In addition, it can be seen that more than twice as many people with incomes below the average testified to worsening chronic disease (48%) compared to those with incomes above the average (22%).

A third of the respondents who had an appointment with the doctor or a medical examination scheduled in advance reported that they canceled or postponed the appointment, and 20% reported that they gave up or postponed the performance of an important screening test such as a mammogram or colonoscopy.

Six months after the current conflict began, 37% of adults said they gained weight compared to 15% who said they lost weight. In addition, about 30% of smokers or ex-smokers indicated that following the war, they increased the amount of smoking or returned to smoking.

Dr. Eran Rothman, head of the health fund’s health division, commented that “six months into the war, the results of the health survey we conducted among the general Israeli public indicate alarming and disturbing feelings felt by Israelis about their health status.

“Maccabi urges the public to continue to take care of their health, continue to go for health checks, and pay serious attention to their psychological and physical health,” Rothman said. “Such attention will help reduce the risk of disease outbreaks and prevent unnecessary further deterioration.”