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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Sep;8(9):3637-71. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8093637. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

The paradox of nutrition-related diseases in the Arab countries: the need for action.

Author information

1
Nutrition and Health Studies Unit, Deanship of Scientific Research, University of Bahrain, Sakhair, Zallaq Street, Bahrain. amusaiger@gmail.com

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; diet-related chronic non-communicable disease; nutrition problems; undernutrition

PMID:
22016708
PMCID:
PMC3194109
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph8093637
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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