• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Economic impact
  • Policies
  • Contextual factors
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2019

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Sample size:7890
Area covered:National
References:2019 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia World Health Survey. https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Ministry/Statistics/Population-Health-Indicators/Documents/World-Health-Survey-Saudi-Arabia.pdf (Accessed 16.11.2021)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2013

Survey type:Measured
Age:15+
Sample size:10735
Area covered:National
References:Saudi Health Interview Survey (SHIS)
Notes:NB. Combined adult data estimated. These estimates were calculated by weighting male and female survey results. Weighting based on World Bank Population % total female 2019 (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS - accessed 08.10.20)'
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:25-64
Sample size:3571
Area covered:National
References:Al-Hamdan, NA; Kutbi, A; Choudhry AJ; Nooh R; Shoukri M; Mujib, SA.WHO Stepwise approach to NCD Surveillance Country-Specific Standard Report Saudi Arabia (2005) Ministry of Health Saudia Arabia in colaboration with WHO, EMRO
Notes:Data for 15-24yrs also available
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1995-2000

Survey type:Measured
Age:30+
Sample size:17223
Area covered:National
References:Mansour Al-Nozha, et al. (2005). Obesity in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Medical Journal, 26:824 - 829. WHO Infobase.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1989-1994

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Sample size:6253
Area covered:National
References:Osman AK, Al-Nozha MM. Risk factors of coronary artery disease in different regions of Saudi Arabia. Eastern Mediterranean health Journal;6:465-474
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2018-2019

Survey type:Measured
Age:6-14
Sample size:444259
Area covered:National
References:Al Daajani, Manal M., Dina M. Al-Habib, Mona H. Ibrahim, Nora A. Al Shewear, Yahya M. Fagihi, Abrar A. Alzaher, Amjad F. Alfaleh, and Khaled I. Alabdulkareem 2021. "Prevalence of Health Problems Targeted by the National School-Based Screening Program among Primary School Students in Saudi Arabia, 2019" Healthcare 9, no. 10: 1310. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9101310
Definitions:BMI data were plotted on Saudi’s sex‐specific percentile charts and categorized into four groups: underweight (less than 5th percentile); normal weight (between 5th percentile and 85th percentile); overweight (between 85th and 95th percentile); and obesity (more than 95th percentile)
Cutoffs:Other

Children, 2017-2018

Survey type:Measured
Age:10-19
Sample size:220842
Area covered:National
References:Ibrahim, M., Albwardi, S., Alzaher, A., Nahhas, M. and Alabdulkareem, K., 2021. School-Based Body Mass Index Survey: A national study of Obesity Prevalence among School Students in Saudi Arabia, 2018: Obesity Prevalence among School Students in Saudi Arabia, 2018. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries, 15(2).
Definitions:BMI data were plotted on Saudi’s sex‐specific percentile charts.
Cutoffs:Other

Children, 2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:6-16
Sample size:7930
Area covered:Regional
References:Al-Hussaini A, Bashir MS, Khormi M, et al. Overweight and obesity among Saudi children and adolescents: Where do we stand today?. Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2019;25(4):229–235. doi:10.4103/sjg.SJG_617_18
Notes:Region: Riyadh City (urban), WHO 2007 Cut Off
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2013-2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-18
Sample size:968
Area covered:Subnational (Dammam)
References:Musaiger A.O et al. 2016. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents in eight Arab countries: comparison between two international standards (ARABEAT-2). Nutr Hosp. 33(5). pp. 1062-1065.
Notes:IOTF cut-offs used NOTE: 2016 data available, sample size (1109). Al-Ghamdi et al. 2018. Prevalence of overweight and obesity based on the body mass index; a cross-sectional study in Alkharj, Saudi Arabia. Lipids in Health and Disease. 17 (134). Doi: 10.1186/s12944-018-0778-5.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:13-17
Sample size:19317
Area covered:National
References:El Mouzan MI, Foster PJ, Al Herbish AS et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Saudi children and adolescents. Ann Saudi Med. 2010 May-Jun; 30(3): 203–208.
Notes:WHO 2007 Cut OFF. Not IOTF Cut off. Comparison with CDC cut off also available
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 1994-1998

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-17
Sample size:12698
Area covered:National
References:Elhazmi Mohsen AF and Warsy AS. (2002). The prevalence of overweight and obesity in 1 - 18 years-old Saudi Children. Annuals Saudi Medicals, 22(5-6):303 - 307.
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 education

Adults, 2019

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Sample size:7890
Area covered:National
References:2019 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia World Health Survey. https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Ministry/Statistics/Population-Health-Indicators/Documents/World-Health-Survey-Saudi-Arabia.pdf (Accessed 16.11.2021)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2006

Survey type:Measured
Age:6-16
Sample size:1243
Area covered:Riyadh
References:Al Alwan İ, Al Fattani A, Longford N. The Effect of Parental Socioeconomic Class on Children’s Body Mass Indices. Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology. 2013;5(2):110-115. doi:10.4274/Jcrpe.898.
Notes:Prevalence of overweight and obesity by Fathers Education Obesity and overweight were defined using the WHO 2007 growth standards.
Cutoffs:WHO

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2019

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:7890
Area covered:National
References:2019 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia World Health Survey. https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Ministry/Statistics/Population-Health-Indicators/Documents/World-Health-Survey-Saudi-Arabia.pdf (Accessed 16.11.2021)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2013

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:10735
Area covered:National
References:Saudi Health Interview Survey (SHIS) 2013. Ministry of Health. http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/Projects/KSA/Saudi-Health-Interview-Survey-Results.pdf (last accessed 2 August 2016)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2006

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:7056
Area covered:Eastern Province
References:Al-Dossary SS, Sarkis PE, Hassan A, Ezz El Regal M, Fouda AE. Obesity in Saudi children: a dangerous reality. East Mediterr Health J. 2010 Sep;16(9):1003-8.
Notes:This study used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2000 growth charts to define BMI. The children were classified into 3 weight categories: normal weight (BMI < 85th percentile for age and sex), overweight(BMI between 85th–95th percentiles) and obese (BMI > 95th percentile).
Cutoffs:CDC

Overweight/obesity by region

Adults, 2019

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Sample size:7890
Area covered:National
References:2019 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia World Health Survey. https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Ministry/Statistics/Population-Health-Indicators/Documents/World-Health-Survey-Saudi-Arabia.pdf (Accessed 16.11.2021)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Boys, 2009-2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:14-19
Sample size:2,908
Area covered:National
References:Al-Hazzaa, Abahussain, Al-Sobayel, Qahwaji, Alsulaiman, and Musaiger. 2014. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Abdominal Obesity among Urban Saudi Adolescents: Gender and Regional Variations. J Health Popul Nutr. 32(4). pp. 634-645.
Notes:IOTF cut-offs used.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Girls, 2009-2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:14-19
Sample size:2,908
Area covered:National
References:Al-Hazzaa, Abahussain, Al-Sobayel, Qahwaji, Alsulaiman, and Musaiger. 2014. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Abdominal Obesity among Urban Saudi Adolescents: Gender and Regional Variations. J Health Popul Nutr. 32(4). pp. 634-645.
Notes:IOTF cut-offs used.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Adults, 2019

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Sample size:7890
Area covered:National
References:2019 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia World Health Survey. https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Ministry/Statistics/Population-Health-Indicators/Documents/World-Health-Survey-Saudi-Arabia.pdf (Accessed 16.11.2021)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2006

Survey type:Measured
Age:6-16
Sample size:1243
Area covered:Riyadh
References:Al Alwan &Idot;, Al Fattani A, Longford N. The Effect of Parental Socioeconomic Class on Children’s Body Mass Indices. Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology. 2013;5(2):110-115. doi:10.4274/Jcrpe.898.
Notes:Prevalence of overweight and obesity by Income (Saudi Riyal/Month). Obesity and overweight were defined using the WHO 2007 growth standards.
Cutoffs:WHO

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

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)

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, 2021

Age:20-79
Area covered:National
References:Reproduced with kind permission International Diabetes Federation.  IDF Diabetes Atlas, 10th edn. Brussels, Belgium:International Diabetes Federation, 2021. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Age-adjusted comparative prevalence of diabetes, %

Adults, 2019

Age:20-79
References:Reproduced with kind permission International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 9th edn. Brussels,Belgium: 2019. Available at: https://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative 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 (%).

Total economic cost as % of GDP

Country comparisons

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Policies, Interventions and Actions

Obesity Control & Prevention Strategy 2020-2030

The purpose of the Strategy is to inform the coordination and implementation of a holistic response to improve health outcomes related to obesity in the Kingdom. It aligns current data, strategies, programs, and needs and identifies a leadership framework to guide implementation of a strategic and coordinated response.

Categories:Evidence of National Obesity Strategy/Policy or Action plan
Year(s):2020-2030
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:National Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
References:https://ianphi.org/_includes/documents/sections/tools-resources/annual-meetings/2019annualmeeting/obesity-prevention-control-strategy.pdf

Trans-fat policy

In January 2020, Saudi Arabia became the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and the 14th country in the world to implement a best-practice TFA policy. The SFDA started with a regulation for mandatory labelling of TFA, which was passed in June 2015 and came into effect in 2016. In November 2015, a regulation was passed for a TFA limit of 2% in oils and fats, and 5% in other food products. These TFA limits were approved by the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) and became available for other GCC Member States to adopt in 2015.10 The limit took effect in Saudi Arabia in November 2017. In January 2020, Saudi Arabia implemented a second phase of its TFA policy, banning PHO.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2020 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Saudi Food and Drug Authority
Find out more:extranet.who.int
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Countdown to 2023: WHO report on global trans-fat elimination 2020. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO

Guidelines For Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery

These guidelines intended to assure provision of the highest levels of safety and quality of bariatric services in licensed health facilities of Saudi Arabia.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2019 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:Saudi Arabia Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Find out more:www.sasmbs.net
Linked document:Download linked document

Front of Pack Nutritional Labeling (SFDA.FD 42/2018)

The Saudi Food & Drug Authority recommended the traffic light system standard to be used as Front of Pack Nutrition Labeling in 2018. The system is adapted from the UK traffic light system, and uses the UK’s thresholds for fat, saturated fat, total sugars, and salt but only on a 100 g/mL basis. Following feedback from local industry and trading partners, SFDA decided to make this FOPNL scheme voluntary intitially. It is due to become mandatory in 2021.

Categories:Labelling Regulation/Guidelines
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Saudi Food & Drug Authority
References:Al-Jawaldeh, A., Rayner, M., Julia, C., Elmadfa, I., Hammerich, A. and McColl, K., 2020. Improving nutrition information in the eastern Mediterranean region: implementation of front-of-pack nutrition labelling. Nutrients, 12(2), p.330. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/2/330/htm.

Nutritional Labeling (SFDA.FD 2233-2018)

This regulation recommends procedures for placing nutritional information on the food products label. The regulation applies to all prepackaged food products, except for fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

Categories:Labelling Regulation/Guidelines
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Saudi Food & Drug Authority
Linked document:Download linked document
References:https://extranet.who.int/nutrition/gina/en/node/41534

SFDA.FD 59/2018 Maximum Guideline Limits for Salt in Food Product

This standard is concerned with the maximum guideline limits for salt in certain food products.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Saudi Food and Drug Authority
Linked document:Download linked document
References:https://extranet.who.int/nutrition/gina/en/node/41537

Excise Tax (Soft drinks and energy drinks)

The Saudi Government have introduced a tax on high sugar drinksThe excise tax rates imposed by the law are a 100% tax rate on energy drinks and a 50% tax rate on carbonated drinks (including soft drinks, carbonated water, and juice).

Categories:Taxation/Subsidies on Food or Beverages or law relating to public health
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:General authority of Zatak and tax
Find out more:www.gazt.gov.sa
Linked document:Download linked document
References:General authority of Zatak and tax. Excise tax. Availabe from: https://www.gazt.gov.sa/en/laws-regulations/excise-tax. [Accessed 14 December 2018].

NCD Country Profiles 2018 (Obesity Targets)

The profiles also provide data on the key metabolic risk factors, namely raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose and obesity and National Targets on Obesity (as of 2017)

Categories:Evidence of Obesity Target
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:World Health Organisation
References:Noncommunicable diseases country profiles 2018. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Official introduction of the physical education program for girls' schools (for the first time)

Physical activity classes can be held in schools as of 2017/18; this aims to improve health, fitness and well-being among girls and women.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Ministry of Education
Find out more:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Linked document:Download linked document
References:[Described in] Al-Hazzaa, H.M, and Al Marzooqi, M.A. 2018. Descriptive Analysis of Physical Activity Initiatives for Health Promotion in Saudi Arabia. Frontiers in public Health. 6(329). DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00329.

Saudi Arabia is walking

A twitter-based, mass participation campaign to make walking an everyday habit for more people, ultimately aiming to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease associated with physical inactivity. Over 50 walking groups around the country have joined the initiative.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:MashiSaudi
Find out more:twitter.com
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Saudi Arabia is Walking Initiative (2018). Available online at: https://twitter.com/MashiSaudi?lang=ar [Described in] - Al-Hazzaa, H.M, and Al Marzooqi, M.A. 2018. Descriptive Analysis of Physical Activity Initiatives for Health Promotion in Saudi Arabia. Frontiers in public Health. 6(329). DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00329.

Vision 2030

Aims to promote a healthy lifestyle, increase physical activity and reduce obesity.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Categories (partial):Evidence of National Obesity Strategy/Policy or Action plan
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Find out more:vision2030.gov.sa
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.2017. [Available from: https://vision2030.gov.sa/sites/default/files/report/Saudi_Vision2030_EN_2017.pdf]. Last Accessed 23rd January 2019.

Saudi Guidelines on the Prevention and Management of Obesity

Guidelines adapted from Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network and other international guidelines for prevention and management overweight and obesity. Covers preventive and curative aspects of overweight and obesity and could be implemented at primary, secondary, and tertiary care levels in Saudi Arabia.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2016 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Health
Linked document:Download linked document

The Saudi clinical practice guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults 2016

Guidelines including recommendations for the non-pharmacological, pharmacological, and surgical management of overweight and obese adults, research priorities regarding lifestyle interventions and economic analysis of drug therapy within the Saudi context, and long term benefits and harms of bariatric surgery.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2015 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:Alfadda, A. et al.
Find out more:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Alfadda, A. et al. 2016. The Saudi clinical practice guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults. Saudi Medical Journal. 37(10). pp.1151-62.

KSA National strategy for diet and Physical activity 2014-2025

Strategy aims to promote health and specifically reduce obesity rates, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, reduce physical inactivity, and stabilise hyperlipidaemia and diabetes.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2014-2025
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
Find out more:extranet.who.int
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. KSA National strategy for diet and Physical activity 2014-2025. [Available from: https://extranet.who.int/ncdccs/Data/SAU_B11_KSA%20NATIONAL%20STRATEGY%20FOR%20DIET%20AND%20PHYSICAL%20ACTIVITY.pdf]. Last Accessed 23rd January 2019.

National Executive Plan for NCDs (2014 – 2025)

National plan to protect Saudi community from NCDs and its complications.

Categories:Evidence of NCD strategy
Year(s):2014-2025
Target age group:Adults and children
Find out more:extranet.who.int
Linked document:Download linked document

Gulf Technical Regulation: Labeling of prepackaged food stuffs

Gulf Cooperation Council countries namely adopted the standards GSO (09/2013) Amd 2016 and GSO (150- 2/2013) for labeling of pre-packaged foods and shelf life. According to this GCC-wide standard, prepackaged food product labels should be in Arabic or include an Arabic language translation of the label. Producers and retailers are also mandated to provide a list of the nutrient content of pre-packaged food products, even in the absence of a nutrition or health claim.

Categories:Labelling Regulation/Guidelines
Year(s):2013 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Gulf Cooperation Council
Find out more:www.gso.org.sa
Linked document:Download linked document

Dietary Guidelines for Saudis

Saudi Dietary Guidelines under the logo of (The Healthy Food Palm) was designed aiming to educate citizens, about what to eat and how much to eat (quality and quantity of food items) that suit his daily servings needs from different food groups, beside that, all age groups should practice physical activities, which prevent from diet related diseases among members of the community such as obesity, diabetes_x000D__x000D_ mellitus, hypertension, nutritional anemia and vitamins decencies....etc

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2012 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Saudi Ministry of Health
Find out more:www.moh.gov.sa
References:2012 Dietary Guidelines for Saudis The healthy Food Palm. General Directorate of Nutrition_x000D__x000D_ https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Ministry/MediaCenter/Publications/Documents/final%20english%20%20%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%A8%20%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%20%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%AC%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B2%D9%8A.pdf

Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing to Children Pledge

The Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing to Children Pledge, initially adopted in the GCC in 2010, is a voluntary commitment by the signatory companies to conduct responsible food and beverage marketing to children. The pledge informs and benchmarks how food and beverage products are marketed in a responsible way to children under the age of 12 in the region. In 2016 the pledge was enhanced by applying a set of nutrition criteria to define ‘better for you options’ . The pledge was endorsed by the Advertising Business Group in 2018.

Categories:Industry/Government regulations - voluntary /pledges
Categories (partial):Evidence of Marketing Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2010 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
References:https://campaignme.com/global-food-beverage-companies-in-the-gcc-achieve-100-commitment-to-restrict-marketing-to-children/

GNPR 2016-17 (q7) Breastfeeeding promotion and/or counselling

WHO Global Nutrition Policy Review 2016-2017 reported the evidence of breastfeeding promotion and/or counselling (q7)

Categories:Evidence of Breastfeeding promotion or related activity
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:Ministry of Health (information provided by the GINA progam)
Find out more:extranet.who.int
References:Information provided with kind permission of WHO Global database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action (GINA): https://extranet.who.int/nutrition/gina/en

National Campaign Against Overweight and Obesity

This campaign consists of a series of programmes and tools to help people reduce weight.

Categories:Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Categories (partial):Evidence of National Obesity Strategy/Policy or Action plan
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Health
Find out more:www.moh.gov.sa

No actions could be found for the above criteria.

Contextual factors

Disclaimer: These contextual factors should be interpreted with care. Results are updated as regularly as possible and use very specific criteria. The criteria used and full definitions are available for download at the bottom of this page.

Tap on a tick to find out more about policies influencing this factor.

Labelling

Is there mandatory nutrition labelling?Present
Front-of-package labelling?Present
Back-of-pack nutrition declaration?Present
Color coding?Present
Warning label?Absent

Regulation and marketing

Are there fiscal policies on unhealthy products?Present
Tax on unhealthy foods?Absent
Tax on unhealthy drinks?Present
Are there fiscal policies on healthy products?Absent
Subsidy on fruits?Absent
Subsidy on vegetables?Absent
Subsidy on other healthy products?Absent
Mandatory limit or ban of trans fat (all settings)?Present
Mandatory limit of trans fats in place (all settings)? Present
Ban on trans-fats or phos in place (all settings)? Present
Are there any mandatory policies/marketing restrictions on the promotion of unhealthy food/drinks to children?Absent
Mandatory restriction on broadcast media?Absent
Mandatory restriction on non-broadcast media?Absent
Voluntary policies/marketing restrictions on the promotion of unhealthy food/drinks to children?Present-(voluntary)
Are there mandatory standards for food in schools?Absent
Are there any mandatory nutrient limits in any manufactured food products?Present
Nutrition standards for public sector procurement?Absent

Political will and support

National obesity strategy or nutrition and physical activity national strategy?Present
National obesity strategy?Present
National childhood obesity strategy?Absent
Comprehensive nutrition strategy?Present
Comprehensive physical activity strategy?Present
Evidence-based dietary guidelines and/or RDAs?Present
National target(s) on reducing obesity?Present
Guidelines/policy on obesity treatment?Present
Promotion of breastfeeding?Present

Monitoring and surveillance

Monitoring of the prevalence and incidence for the main obesity-related NCDs and risk factors?Present
Within 5 years?Absent

Governance and resource

Multi-sectoral national co-ordination mechanism for obesity or nutrition (including obesity)?Absent

Key

Present
Present (voluntary)
Incoming
Absent
Unknown

Last updated September 13, 2022

See more policies here

Download contextual factors as a PDF Contextual factors definitions

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