• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
Loading data – please wait …

Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2016-2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-69
Sample size:1899
Area covered:National
References:WHO STEPWISE APPROACH FOR NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASESRISK FACTOR SURVEILLANCE, Lebanon, 2016-2017 https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/steps/Lebanon_STEPS_report_2016-2017.pdf?ua=1 (last accessed 16.10.19)
Notes:STEPS
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:25-64
Sample size:1953
Area covered:National
References:WHO STEPS Report 2009 Lebanon
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:2707
Area covered:National
References:Nasreddine L, Naja F, Chamieh MC et al. Trends in overweight and obesity in Lebanon: evidence from two national cross-sectional surveys (1997 and 2009). BMC Public Health 2012;12:798
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1997

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:2104
References:Sibai AM, Hwalla N, Adra N, Rahal B. Prevalence and Covariates of Obesity in Lebanon: Findings from the First Epidemiolgical Study. Obesity Research 203;11:1353-1361
Notes:The sample size includes children.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2017

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:13-17
References:Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS), available at https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/gshs/Lebanon_2017_GSHS_FS.pdf (last accessed 13.11.20)
Notes:WHO cutoffs.
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:6-19
Sample size:939
Area covered:National
References:Nasreddine L, Naja F, Chamieh MC et al. Trends in overweight and obesity in Lebanon: evidence from two national cross-sectional surveys (1997 and 2009). BMC Public Health 2012;12:798
Notes:WHO Child Cut Off. Note: Data for 2-5 year-olds available. Nasreddine et al 2017. Prevalence and Correlates of Preschool Overweight and Obesity Amidst the Nutrition Transition: Findings from a National Cross-Sectional Study in Lebanon. Nutrients. 9(3),. pp. 266.
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 1996

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-17
Sample size:1101
Area covered:Regional
References:Hwalla N and Adra N. (1998). Dept of Food Technoology & Nutrition, American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Personal communication data reanalysed (Lebanon).
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:2697
Area covered:National
References:Nasreddine L, Naja F, Chamieh MC et al. Trends in overweight and obesity in Lebanon: evidence from two national cross-sectional surveys (1997 and 2009). BMC Public Health 2012;12:798
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Average daily frequency of carbonated soft drink consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption

Children, 2008-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Global School-based Student Health Surveys. Beal et al (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption (% less-than-daily fruit consumption)

Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption

Children, 2008-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption (% less-than-daily vegetable consumption)

Average weekly frequency of fast food consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: Upper Middle Income

Health systems summary

Lebanon has a mixed health-care system. There is the government-funded National Social Security Fund, government schemes that cover civil servants and the military, and private insurance. Together, these schemes cover close to 50% of the population. In addition to the above, the many Palestinian refugees are covered by the United National Relief and Work Agency. Despite all of this, it is estimated that around half of the population in Lebanon lack healthcare coverage, and for those that do have coverage, co-payments are common. As a result, out of pocket payments in Lebanon are considered to be at ‘catastrophic levels’ (55% of health expenditure).

The public sector is considered to be of much lower quality than the private sector, suffering from low funding and difficulties with recruiting and retaining staff.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Some progress
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?Some progress
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?No
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Obesity not recognised as a disease
  • Lack of financial investment and funding for coverage
  • Lack of training
  • Failure to recognise or accept all treatment options
  • Poor availability of pharmaceutical treatments
  • Poor adherence to treatment
  • Poor health literacy & behaviour
  • Cultural norms and traditions
  • Obesogenic environment

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Stakeholders felt that neither the government or the healthcare providers in Lebanon considered obesity as a disease. This was felt to be evidenced by the lack of initiatives and action on the obesity front for both the prevention and treatment of obesity. It was felt that obesity could be better prevented if there were more awareness campaigns, government commitment and training for health professionals.

Stakeholders reported that that there are a lack of clear obesity care pathways in Lebanon. This may be due to the absence of guidelines as well as the fact that primary care physicians do not have a gatekeeper role (people can go straight to specialists). No clear referral pathways mean that treatment is often left to endocrinologists and surgeons, with general practitioners playing a small (to no) role in obesity management and treatment.

It appears that most obesity treatment options are not covered by government funding/insurance - except for surgery when certain criteria are met. As a result, much obesity treatment in Lebanon is paid for out of pocket. The lack of guidelines in Lebanon mean that there is variation in when treatment can be received, but it appears that it is generally when BMI is above 30kg/m2.

There is no obesity training available in Lebanon. Endocrinologists are widely considered to be the most qualified to manage and treat obesity, but they do not receive specific obesity training in their specialisation training.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 4 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

Download this information as a PDF

Actions

National Childhood obesity awareness campaign 2018

National Childhood obesity awareness campaign 2018 (in arabic)

Categories:Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Republic of Lebanon - Ministry of public Health
Find out more:www.moph.gov.lb
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Republic of Lebanon - Ministry of public Health. National Childhood obesity awareness campaign 2018. Available from: https://www.moph.gov.lb/en/Pages/11/18616/the-national-children-obesity-awareness-campaign-2018. [Accessed 17th January 2019].

National Campaign for the Prevention of Obesity and Kidney Diseases 2017

A campaign to emphasise the consequences of obesity particularly in relation to kidney disease. This campaign promotes a healthy lifestyle and outlines measures requires to maintain a healthy body. [Document in Arabic].

Categories:Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Republic of Lebanon - Ministry of Public Health.
Find out more:www.moph.gov.lb
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Republic of Lebanon - Ministry of Public Health. National Campaign for the Prevention of Obesity and Kidney Diseases 2017. Available from: https://www.moph.gov.lb/en/Pages/11/11526/national-campaign-for-the-prevention-of-obesity-and-kidney-diseases. [Last Accessed 17th January 2019].

A National Non Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Plan (NCD-PCP)

This document proposes a set of strategic objectives specifically tailored for Lebanon.

Categories:Evidence of NCD strategy
Year(s):2016-2020
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Public Health
Find out more:www.moph.gov.lb
Linked document:Download linked document

Health-E-PALS school based intervention

A school based intervention with 3 main focuses: class curriculum, family involvement and food service aiming to change eating and physical activity habits as well as weight and health of the children.

Categories:Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2014 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Habib-Mourad et al
Find out more:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Habib-Mourad et al. 2014. Promoting healthy eating and physical activity among school children: findings from Health-E-PALS, the first pilot intervention from Lebanon. BMC Public Health. 14(940). doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-940.

No actions could be found for the above criteria.

Loading