Current Issue




There were two important developments recently in the field of obesity studies. The first is from the World Obesity Federation who now officially recognise that obesity is a ‘chronic relapsing disease’ with all the implications that this carries, such as the recognition that obese patients are not solely responsible for their condition and that there are other influencing factors involved. Also, that it may refocus attention on new ways to tackle the disease, such as mitigating certain environmental factors that are known to contribute to obesity, a socalled obesogenic environment.

Second, a study published in The Lancet – a global analysis – shows that obesity in adolescents has increased ten-fold in the past four decades. In some countries in the Middle East – Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – the rate of childhood obesity has grown by 20% or more. The authors note that excessive weight gain “in childhood and adolescence is associated with a higher risk and earlier onset of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, worse psychosocial and educational outcomes, and lifelong harms since weight loss is hard to achieve”. Read more about this major study in this issue of Middle East Health.

In our United Kingdom report we look at the country’s National Health Service and how it is dealing with the challenge of increasing demand for its services through the implementation of various innovative programmes to reform and restructure the organisation.

The World Health Organisation’s Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean Region held their 64th annual meeting in Islamabad in October. In this issue we provide a brief overview of some of the important issues discussed and resolutions adopted at the meeting. The talks were wide-ranging and included health issues such as noncommunicable diseases, health emergencies, polio, cancer, climate change, the health of adolescents and antimicrobial resistance, among others. At the meeting Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, announced the establishment of a new high-level global Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases, the aim of which will be to ‘identify innovative ways to curb the world’s biggest causes of death and extend life expectancy for millions of people’.


Callan Emery

(Nov - Dec 2017)

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(NA Supplement 2017)

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