Chapter 3 Additional World Health Assembly nutrition indicators

Key messages
  • Prevalence of obesity among adults (18 years and above) has been increasing steadily in the region since 2000. The latest year estimate for the Arab region shows that 28.8 percent of the adult population was obese, i.e. more than double the global average of 13.1 percent. High-income countries exhibited the highest prevalence of adult obesity in the region whereas the low-income countries had the lowest levels. Nine out of 22 countries in the region displayed particularly high rates of adult obesity, exceeding 30 percent.
  • Despite an increasing trend in recent years, the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in infants (0–5 months) in the Arab region, estimated at 38.4 percent in 2019, was lower than the global average of 44 percent. High income countries of the region had the lowest prevalence with less than one-quarter of mothers having exclusively breastfed their infants for the first five months.
  • Based on the most recent available data, the prevalence of low birthweight in the Arab region, estimated at 11.6 percent, was lower compared to the global average of 14.6 percent. Most countries of the region have shown progress in reducing low birthweight since 2000. Based on recent estimates, low birthweight is highest in low-income countries, while it is lowest in high-income countries in the region. Note: The data and analyses presented in this report refer to the Arab States: Algeria; Bahrein; the Comoros; Djibouti; Egypt; Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Mauritania; Morocco; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; the Sudan; the Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; the United Arab Emirates; Yemen, as well as Palestine.