Unhealthy diet

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A healthy diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesityA healthy diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesityAn unhealthy diet is one of the major risk factors for a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity. Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats.

Improving dietary habits is a societal, not just an individual problem. Therefore it demands a population-based, multisectoral, multi-disciplinary, and culturally relevant approach.

Obesity and noncommunicable diseases

Reports present alarming figures for the prevalence of obesity and noncommunicable diseases. Overweight and obesity are potent risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes and are major contributors to premature death.

Eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains.  Cut down on salt, sugar and fatsData compiled for adults aged 15 years and over from 16 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region show the highest levels of overweight people in Kuwait, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, with the prevalence of overweight/obesity ranging from 74% to 86% among women and 69% to 77% among men.

The escalating level of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is of particular concern, given the recent evidence linking childhood and adolescent obesity to increased risk of obesity and morbidity in adulthood.

Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity

Related resources

Healthy diet factsheet

Policy statement and recommended actions for lowering sugar intake and reducing prevalence of type 2 diabetes and obesity in the Eastern Mediterranean Region 

English | Arabic French

Policy statement and recommended actions for reducing fat intake and lowering heart attack rates in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

English | Arabic | French

Policy statement and recommended actions to lower national salt intake and death rates from high blood pressure and stroke in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

English | Arabic | French

Global monitoring framework

Eat healthy in Ramadan