البدانة في الشرق الأوسط

البدانة في الشرق الأوسط

تقدم هيديه ميهتراش موجزا عن الكلفة الاقتصادية والبشرية للبدانة في الشرق الأوسط، وتدعو إلى ضرورة إدخال سياسات سليمة والقيام بتدخلات في مجال الصحة العامة تحدّياً للجمود الحالي القائم في المنطقة. (ترجمتها للعربية: زينة المحايري) خلال الشهور القليلة الماضية نُشرت العديد من التقارير، مثل تقريري WSJ و Bloomberg ، التي عرضت التحدي المذهل للانتشار الوبائي للبدانة في الشرق الأوسط. العبء الثقيل: ساهمت البدانة وزيادة الوزن بشكل كبير بمشكلة الأمراض غير المعدية (NCDs) في الشرق الأوسط. ومن المثير للاهتمام أن الدراسات المسحية قد أظهرت أن النساء في المنطقة مصابات بالبدانة أكثر من الرجال. 1 وبصورة غير متكافئة يتأثر الشباب أكثر بوباء البدانة. وفي حين أن المنطقة تعدّ أكثر المناطق شباباً في العالم، يزداد انتشار نمط حياة الكسل وقلة الحركة، مع تغيرات في نمط الغذاء مما أدى إلى معدلاتٍ متزايدةٍ من البدانة بين الأطفال واليافعين. 2 وبالتوازي مع انتشار البدانة ارتفعت معدلات الإصابة بالداء السكري وارتفاع الضغط. وقد أشارت التقارير أن منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا تعاني من أعلى معدلات للداء السكري بين البالغين في العالم تبلغ حتى 10.9%. تلعب العادات الغذائية السيئة وقلة النشاط الجسدي الدور الرئيسي في البدانة في أي مجتمع. 3 أما في العالم العربي فتُتصف التغيرات الغذائية بازدياد مدخول السعرات، وباستبدال الوجبات الغذائية التقليدية بأخرى معالجة ومعدلة بحيث تحوي نسبةً عاليةً من الدهون والملح. 4 يضاف إلى ذلك نتائج دراسات مسحية في دول مختلفة من المنطقة (مصر، والأردن، والعراق، والكويت، والسعودية، وقطر، وسوريا)؛ والتي تؤكد أن أكثر من 80% من البالغين يتناولون أقل من الحصص الخمسة المنصوح بها من الخضراوات والفواكه يومياً. يترافق هذا النمط الغذائي مع أعلى معدلاتٍ لقلة النشاط البدني في العالم. ومع أنه من المعروف أنّ قلة النشاط البدني بات مشكلةً حقيقية، غير أنّه لا...
HEYA launches childhood obesity campaign in Kuwait

HEYA launches childhood obesity campaign in Kuwait

  Mariam Bhacker & Hedieh Mehrtash When I spoke to Dalal Albohamad for the first time it was over a frustratingly bad internet connection between a Ban Suan apartment in Chiang Mai and a bustling, noisy Starbucks in Kuwait. Our technological issues however could not dampen the outpouring of enthusiasm and excitement that ensued during our conversation. We were discussing the launch of “HEYA”, a multidimensional media advocacy campaign targeting the prevention of childhood obesity in Kuwait – (dubious) title-holder for the highest rates of child obesity in the world. Off the top of her head, Dalal, who is HEYA’s Associate Program Manager, was able cite the frightening statistics from a 2011 study which revealed that 50 percent of students between the ages of 13 and 15 were overweight, 22.6 percent were obese, and only 21 percent were considered physically active. Forty eight percent also ate fast food more than three times a week. The health effects of obesity beget a vast range of medical consequences including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, early menarche and menstrual problems, fatty liver disease, as well as psychological and social consequences. Separately and collectively, these problems have lasting and devastating effects on individuals’ lives. The current health system’s curative approach cannot reasonably tackle this immense health fallout, and hence HEYA’s preventive focus is a welcome and timely initiative. The launch Launching today, May 11, at the Kuwait National Library, the first year of the HEYA campaign will focus on raising public awareness of child obesity and promoting the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. This initial awareness phase will provide a...
Obesity in the Middle East

Obesity in the Middle East

Hedieh Mehrtash outlines the human and economic costs of obesity in the Middle East, and advocates for sound policy and public health intervention to challenge the current regional inertia. During the past couple of months, there have been reports, not limited to WSJ and Bloomberg, illustrating the astonishing challenge of the obesity epidemic in the Middle East. A weighty burden Overweight and obesity have contributed greatly to the problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Middle East. Interestingly, recent surveys have shown that women are affected more by obesity than men in the region.1 Youth are also disproportionately impacted by the obesity epidemic. The region has one of the youngest populations worldwide, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles and changes in diet have led to burgeoning rates of obesity among children and adolescents.2 This high prevalence of obesity has paralleled the rise of diabetes and hypertension. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is reported to have the highest prevalence of diabetes in adults in the world, at 10.9%. Poor eating habits and physical inactivity within a population are known to be the major contributors to obesity.3 In the Arab World, changes in diet are characterised by increased caloric intake and substitution of the traditional diet with refined and processed foods and diets rich in fat and salt.4 Furthermore, regional surveys have found that more than 80% of adults in different countries across the region (Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Syria) reported eating less than the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables per day. These dietary patterns are accompanied by some of the highest levels of physical...

Exploring non-communicable disease risk factors among Middle Eastern adolescents

The Middle East and North Africa edition of The Global Burden of Disease, Generating Evidence, Guiding Policy identifies dietary risks, high blood pressure, high body mass index, and smoking as the leading risk factors for premature death and disability in the region. These risk factors can be attributed to health behaviours that are adopted during childhood and adolescence, with the burden of disease extending and worsening into adulthood.  Hence, adolescence is an opportune time for targeted interventions promoting healthy, protective behaviours. Several studies published this month aim to quantify the prevalence and predictors of these risk factors among cohorts of youth and recommend policy for intervention: Time trends of cigarette and waterpipe smoking among a cohort of school children in Irbid, Jordan, 2008 -2011 in the European Journal of Public Health Results synopsis: The longitudinal study documents patterns of tobacco use among school children according to age, gender, and tobacco use method. Boys reported higher smoking rates than girls for both cigarettes and waterpipe smoking, and girls generally displayed a 2-year delay in smoking acquisition compared to their male counterparts. Smoking patterns were characterized by “a predominance of waterpipe smoking and steeper age-related increase in cigarette smoking”. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that youth are initially introduced to smoking and tobacco use through waterpipe smoking, which later facilitates tobacco dependence and cigarette smoking. As such tobacco-control strategies should target waterpipe initiation and use at early ages. Physical activity and perceived barriers among highschool students in Muscat, Oman in Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal Results synopsis: This cross-sectional survey studying the patterns and determinants of physical activity among secondary school students...

Obesity associated with gender, area of residence, and household welfare in study of Algerian and Tunisian adults

A new study published in PLOS ONE this week reflects findings elsewhere that women exceed men for prevalence of obesity in the Middle East North Africa region. Results from the analysis found that the prevalence of obesity among women and men in Algeria was 30.1% and 9.1% respectively, and  37.0% and 13.3% in Tunisia. Obesity was more prevalent in urban versus rural areas in Tunisia. Despite obesity increasing with household welfare, especially in Tunisia and among women, obesity was still prevalent among the lowest welfare quintile of women in both...

Saudi reports tell of the rising obesity epidemic in the Middle East

In the last month there have been a slew of news reports revealing the startling state of the obesity epidemic in the Middle East. In September, a 2-year-old from Saudi became the youngest person to undergo bariatric weight loss surgery after experiencing health problems related to his weight, including sleep apnoea and bowing of the legs. This follows three high-profile adult obesity cases emerging from the Kingdom since August, including that of Khalid Mohsin Shaeri, a 22-year-old, 610 kg man who had to be airlifted and part of his house demolished to transport him for treatment at King Fahd Medical City. These cases are symptomatic of the obesity epidemic plaguing the region. Statistics from the latest report of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization ranked Gulf countries amongst the fattest in the world. Kuwait tops the regional list with 42.8% of the adult population classed as obese, followed at 35.2% by Saudi Arabia, 33.7% of UAE adults, and Bahrain at 32.6%. Outside of the GCC, Egypt reported rates of 34.6% adult obesity, 34.3% in Jordan, and 30.8% in Libya. Stratifying the data by gender reveals that obesity rates are actually higher among women in the region; a reality not reflected in the media cases. In a list of the global top 20 for obesity, Kuwaiti women rank second at 55.2%, with Egypt (48%), the UAE (42%), Bahrain (37.9%), and Jordan (37.9%) following closely behind. Obesity is linked to a host of dietary and lifestyle risk factors, and associated with numerous chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. When left untreated these diseases lead to ischemic heart disease...