CVD risk factor trends in the Eastern Mediterranean region

The MED-CHAMPs team have produced a paper, reporting alarming trends in cardivascular risk in Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.


In Syria, data came from the Aleppo Diabetes Study (1996) and WHO STEPWISE surveys (2006). In Palestine, data came only from the West Bank, from a study in rural and urban areas of Ramallah governorate (1998) and WHO STEPWISE surveys (2009). In Tunisia, data came from risk factor surveys in Tunis and Ariana, and in Turkey, a national CVD risk factor survey was carried out in 1990, and following that nationally representative data was taken more freBMI-Prevalencequently (references are in the paper).

The overall picture shows declining tobacco rates in Palestine and Turkey, stable tobacco rates in Tunisia and increased in Syria. In every country, Body Mass Index (BMI) and Diabetes increased  in both sexes. Systolic Blood Pressure increased by 6% in Syria, and was stable in the other 3 countries.

The increase in BMI was alarming, as in Syria both men and women had a BMI over 30 in 2006, the cut off for obesity, as were women in Turkey and Palestine. The mean BMI for women in Tunisia was 29.2, which nears this cut off. The later mean BMI for men in Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey was over 27, classed as overweight. A BMI of 18-24.9 is considered to be within a healthy range. 

The authors point to an increase in calorie and fat intake and sedentary lifestyles as the cause of this shift in BMI. This BMI increase led to a higher risk of diabetes, evident in the data.

Sozmen et al " CVD risk factor trends in the Eastern Mediterranean region". International Journal of  Public Health. 4th October 2014


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