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      Overweight and Obesity in Eastern Mediterranean Region: Prevalence and Possible Causes

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      Journal of Obesity

      Hindawi Publishing Corporation

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          Abstract

          The objective of this paper was to explore the prevalence of overweight and obesity among various age groups as well as discuss the possible factors that associated with obesity in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). A systematic review of published papers between 1990 and 2011 was carried out. Obesity reached an alarming level in all age groups of the EMR countries. The prevalence of overweight among preschool children(<5 years) ranged from 1.9% to 21.9%, while the prevalence of overweight and obesity among school children ranged from 7% to 45%. Among adults the prevalence of overweight and obesity ranged from 25% to 81.9%. Possible factors determining obesity in this region include: nutrition transition, inactivity, urbanization, marital status, a shorter duration of breastfeeding, frequent snacking, skipping breakfast, a high intake of sugary beverages, an increase in the incidence of eating outside the home, long periods of time spent viewing television, massive marketing promotion of high fat foods, stunting, perceived body image, cultural elements and food subsidize policy. A national plan of action to overcome obesity is urgently needed to reduce the economic and health burden of obesity in this region.

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          Most cited references 134

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          Physical status: the use and interpretation of anthropometry

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            The epidemiology of obesity.

            In the United States, obesity among adults and overweight among children and adolescents have increased markedly since 1980. Among adults, obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or greater. Among children and adolescents, overweight is defined as a body mass index for age at or above the 95th percentile of a specified reference population. In 2003-2004, 32.9% of adults 20-74 years old were obese and more than 17% of teenagers (age, 12-19 y) were overweight. Obesity varies by age and sex, and by race-ethnic group among adult women. A higher body weight is associated with an increased incidence of a number of conditions, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and with an increased risk of disability. Obesity is associated with a modestly increased risk of all-cause mortality. However, the net effect of overweight and obesity on morbidity and mortality is difficult to quantify. It is likely that a gene-environment interaction, in which genetically susceptible individuals respond to an environment with increased availability of palatable energy-dense foods and reduced opportunities for energy expenditure, contributes to the current high prevalence of obesity. Evidence suggests that even without reaching an ideal weight, a moderate amount of weight loss can be beneficial in terms of reducing levels of some risk factors, such as blood pressure. Many studies of dietary and behavioral treatments, however, have shown that maintenance of weight loss is difficult. The social and economic costs of obesity and of attempts to prevent or to treat obesity are high.
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              Socioeconomic status and obesity in adult populations of developing countries: a review.

              A landmark review of studies published prior to 1989 on socioeconomic status (SES) and obesity supported the view that obesity in the developing world would be essentially a disease of the socioeconomic elite. The present review, on studies conducted in adult populations from developing countries, published between 1989 and 2003, shows a different scenario for the relationship between SES and obesity. Although more studies are necessary to clarify the exact nature of this relationship, particularly among men, three main conclusions emerge from the studies reviewed: 1. Obesity in the developing world can no longer be considered solely a disease of groups with higher SES. 2. The burden of obesity in each developing country tends to shift towards the groups with lower SES as the country's gross national product (GNP) increases. 3. The shift of obesity towards women with low SES apparently occurs at an earlier stage of economic development than it does for men. The crossover to higher rates of obesity among women of low SES is found at a GNP per capita of about US$ 2500, the mid-point value for lower-middle-income economies. The results of this review reinforce the urgent need to: include obesity prevention as a relevant topic on the public health agenda in developing countries; improve the access of all social classes in these countries to reliable information on the determinants and consequences of obesity; and design and implement consistent public actions on the physical, economic, and sociocultural environment that make healthier choices concerning diet and physical activity feasible for all. A significant step in this direction was taken with the approval of the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health by the World Health Assembly in May 2004.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Obes
                JOBES
                Journal of Obesity
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                2090-0708
                2090-0716
                2011
                18 September 2011
                : 2011
                Affiliations
                Nutrition and Health Research Unit, Deanship of Scientific Research, University of Bahrain and Arab Center for Nutrition, P.O. Box 26923, Manama, Bahrain
                Author notes
                *Abdulrahman O. Musaiger: amusaiger@ 123456gmail.com

                Academic Editor: Gianluca Iacobellis

                Article
                10.1155/2011/407237
                3175401
                21941635
                d98c4087-5279-4193-bbd3-b9aea2ec9a50
                Copyright © 2011 Abdulrahman O. Musaiger.

                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.

                Categories
                Review Article

                Nutrition & Dietetics

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