Nesrine S. Farrag, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Mohamed K. Farag
A systematic review of childhood obesity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: Prevalence and risk factors meta-analysis Nesrine S. Farrag 1, Lawrence J. Cheskin 2, Mohamed K. Farag 3* 1 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Mansoura University Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura, Egypt 2 Department of Health, Behavior & Society, and Global Obesity Prevention Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA 3 Epidemiology Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA Abstract Obesity rates are rising globally, but there is evidence that young people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are at particularly high risk. We systematically searched the literature to map the MENA region for prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity, and examine the underlying risk factors and adverse effects associated with obesity in this region. Inclusion criteria were: English-language, non-basicscience focused articles that used any of the standard obesity definitions and were conducted in the MENA countries within the last five years. We searched PubMed using combinations of key terms ((childhood) OR adolescence) AND obesity) AND (MENA or each country) AND ("last five years" [PDat]). Studies demonstrated an increasing prevalence of obesity among many countries in the MENA region, especially in the Gulf area. Notably, in Kuwait, prevalence rates of overweight and obesity were 25.6% and 34.8% among young males and 20.8% and 20.5% among females. A meta-analysis revealed that physical inactivity, increased screen time, and higher social status were risk factors for childhood obesity. Childhood and adolescent obesity is a major challenge facing countries of the MENA region. Further research is needed to fully investigate the role of nutrition and other specific risk factors and evaluate various interventions to manage this pervasive and growing health problem.
Published Date: 2017-08-30;