The picture of health and nutritional status in the Arab Middle East countries has changed drastically during the past four decades as a result of changes in dietary habits, socio-economic situation and lifestyle. The chronic non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes, hypertension and cancer have become the main public health problems in most of these countries. Pattern of food consumption may play an important part in the increasing incidence of CHD in this region. The traditional diet, characterized by a high-fiber content and low in fat and cholesterol has changed to a more westernized diet with high content of fat, free sugars, sodium and cholesterol. Daily per capita fat supplies showed an impressive increase in most of these countries, ranging from 13.6% in Sudan to 143.3% in Saudi Arabia. A high intake of cholesterol is reported in some of these countries. Also, the consumption of fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits is low. Data from food composition tables in the region showed that sodium content in the Arab Middle East diet is high. Dietary guidelines and recommendations for the prevention and control of chronic diseases, including CHD, in these Arab countries are provided.
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Dr. A.O. Musaiger
Director, Environmental and Biological Program
Bahrain Center for Studies and Research
PO Box 496, Manama (Bahrain)
Tel. +973 754948, Fax +973 754822, E-Mail Amusaiger@bcsr.gov.bh
Received: Received: October 28, 2001
Revised: June 22, 2002
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 29
Medical Principles and Practice
International Journal of the Kuwait University Health Sciences Centre A Publicationof the Academic Publications Council
Vol. 11, No. Suppl. 2, Year 2002 (Cover Date: Released November 2002)
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