Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(9), 3637-3671; doi:10.3390/ijerph8093637
Review

The Paradox of Nutrition-Related Diseases in the Arab Countries: The Need for Action

1,2,* , 3
 and 4
Received: 11 August 2011; in revised form: 25 August 2011 / Accepted: 29 August 2011 / Published: 8 September 2011
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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
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

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.

AMA Style

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.

Chicago/Turabian Style

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.


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