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Prev Chronic Dis. 2008 Jan;5(1):A17. Epub 2007 Dec 15.

Obesity and diabetes in Jordan: findings from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 2004.

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Noncommunicable Disease Department, Adel Belbeisi, Jordan Ministry of Health, Amman, Jordan.



Chronic diseases are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Jordan. The Jordanian Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, established a behavioral risk factor surveillance system to monitor the behavioral risk factors associated with chronic diseases.


We used a multistage sampling design to select households from which we then randomly selected and interviewed one adult aged 18 years or older. A random subsample of the adults interviewed were then invited to visit the local health clinic, where we obtained medical measurements, including blood lipids (low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides) and fasting blood glucose.


Approximately 9% of the participants in the subsample who underwent medical testing reported having been diagnosed with diabetes previously, compared with 16.9% diagnosed in our laboratory testing. About 12.3% of the participants were glucose intolerant, and about 35% were obese. Obesity was significantly associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and asthma. Compared with adults of normal weight, obese adults had an adjusted odds ratio of 3.27 (95% CI, 1.58-6.76) for diabetes, 3.69 (95% CI, 2.13-6.39) for high blood pressure, 3.45 (95% CI, 1.68-7.10) for high cholesterol, and 5.12 (95% CI, 1.53-17.19) for asthma.


Obesity, poor diet, and physical inactivity create a major chronic disease burden in Jordan that is likely to increase substantially in the next few years. Our findings argue for establishment of a more preventive orientation in health care and public health systems in Jordan.

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