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Nutrition in the Eastern Mediterranean Region A display of a variety of vegetables

Malnutrition remains the most serious child health problem and the single biggest contributor to child mortality in the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region. Nearly one-third of children in the Region are either underweight or stunted, and more than 30% of the population suffers from micronutrient deficiencies.

Most rich and middle income countries in the Region are experiencing a double burden of malnutrition that includes both undernutrition and overweight. This is leading to an increasing burden of disease in many countries. This double burden is having a negative impact on health systems.

Overweight and obesity are closely related to food consumption, dietary patterns, nutrition and lifestyles. Changes in food habits are visible in all countries, in which the traditional diet, which has generally consisted of dates, milk, fresh vegetables and fruits, whole wheat bread and fish, has been diversified, with an excess intake of energy-dense foods rich in fat and free sugars and deficient in complex carbohydrates.

The major nutrition problems due to an inadequate dietary intake in the Region are:

  • protein-energy malnutrition
  • high prevalence of low birth weight
  • iodine deficiency disorders
  • vitamin A deficiency
  • iron deficiency anaemia in young children and women of childbearing age
  • calcium deficiency
  • zinc deficiency
  • vitamin D deficiency.

News

1 February 2010 – The regional nutrition strategy (2010–2019) urges all countries in the Region to develop programmes to suit their situations and resources. In response, the United Arab Emirates'...

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In focus

Regional strategy on nutrition

A regional strategy on nutrition and plan of action for 2010–2019 has been developed. The overall goal of the regional nutrition strategy is to improve the nutritional status of people throughout the life-cycle...

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Events

Online public consultation on a political outcome document The consultation is open until 21 March 2014 The 134th session of WHO's Executive Board called for the "development of the draft outcome document...

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The first regional conference in nutrition, disability and mental health was organized jointly by the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean and Amman Arab University in Amman,...

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