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Childhood Obesity PreventionInternational Research, Controversies and Interventions$
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Jennifer A. O'Dea and Michael Eriksen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572915.001.0001

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Childhood obesity in the Middle Eastern countries with special reference to Iran

Childhood obesity in the Middle Eastern countries with special reference to Iran

Chapter:
(p.174) Chapter 15 Childhood obesity in the Middle Eastern countries with special reference to Iran
Source:
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Author(s):

Kelishadi Roya

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572915.003.0015

In the last two decades, obesity rates have increased in developing countries experiencing a rapid epidemiologic transition, especially in terms of adopting a Western lifestyle involving decreased physical activity and overconsumption of cheap, energy-dense food. The Middle East, Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and China appear to face the greatest threat. This growing health problem is also affecting the children of these countries, with a paradox of concurrent childhood underweight/obesity existing in many of these countries. Childhood obesity is also developing in the Middle Eastern countries, largely in response to social and economic changes. The differences between the age groups reported in this chapter, the subjects' living area (urban/rural) as well as the BMI cut-offs used make the comparisons difficult. In general, Middle Eastern studies show that the prevalence of childhood obesity in Iran is lower than Arab countries in the region and some parts of Turkey; this may be due to both genetic and lifestyle differences between Iranian and Arab nations. Until few years ago, childhood under-nutrition has been the major nutritional problem in many Middle-Eastern countries, and still it is the focus of nutritional policies and related medical education curriculum. However, the higher prevalence of overweight than underweight obtained in aforementioned surveys is alarming, and confirms the importance of considering childhood overweight as a health priority. This should be taken into account for all Middle Eastern countries that are expected to bear one of the world's greatest increases in the burden of chronic diseases, notably diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, in the next two decades. Given that the Middle Eastern populations are facing the world's greatest increment in the absolute burden of future diabetes, preventive measures should be considered from early life.

Keywords:   children, adolescents, epidemiology, comparison, Iran, Middle East, social class, income, socioeconomic status, SES

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