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The Paradox of Nutrition-Related Diseases in the Arab Countries: The Need for Action
Nutrition and Health Studies Unit, Deanship of Scientific Research, University of Bahrain, Sakhair, Zallaq Street, Bahrain
Arab Center for Nutrition, Street 1535, Muharraq, Bahrain
Department of Health Sciences, Qatar University, University Avenue, Qatar
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Bliss Street, Lebanon
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 August 2011; in revised form: 25 August 2011 / Accepted: 29 August 2011 / Published: 8 September 2011
Abstract: The aim of this review was to highlight the current situation of nutrition-related diseases in the Arab countries, and factors associated with prevalence of these diseases. PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for data relating to such nutrition-related diseases published between January 1990 and May 2011. The picture of nutritional status in the Arab countries has changed drastically over the past 30 years as a result of changes in the social and economic situation. Two contrasting nutrition-related diseases exist, those associated with inadequate intake of nutrients and unhealthy dietary habits such as growth retardation among young children and micronutrient deficiencies; and those associated with changes in lifestyle such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity (diet-related non-communicable diseases). Factors contributing to nutritional problems vary from country to country, depending on socio-economic status. In general, unsound dietary habits, poor sanitation, poverty, ignorance and lack of access to safe water and health services are mainly responsible for under-nutrition. Changes in lifestyle and dietary habits as well as inactivity are associated with the occurrence of diet-related non-communicable diseases. Programs to prevent and control nutrition-related diseases are insufficient and ineffective, due mainly to a focus on curative care at the expense of preventive health care services, lack of epidemiological studies, lack of nutritional surveillance, inadequate nutrition information and lack of assessment of the cost-effectiveness of nutrition intervention programs.
Keywords: Arab countries; nutrition problems; undernutrition; diet-related chronic non-communicable disease
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Musaiger, A.O.; Hassan, A.S.; Obeid, O. The Paradox of Nutrition-Related Diseases in the Arab Countries: The Need for Action. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 3637-3671.
Musaiger AO, Hassan AS, Obeid O. The Paradox of Nutrition-Related Diseases in the Arab Countries: The Need for Action. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(9):3637-3671.
Musaiger, Abdulrahman O.; Hassan, Abdelmonem S.; Obeid, Omar. 2011. "The Paradox of Nutrition-Related Diseases in the Arab Countries: The Need for Action." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 9: 3637-3671.