National Recognition of Obesity as Disease Essential, Says Lebanese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Lipids

Beirut, 11 October 2018: The Lebanese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Lipids (LSEDL) has launched a Task Force to raise awareness of rising Lebanon rates of Obesity, a disease estimated to afflict between 18 and 32 percent of people in the country.

“The Task Force will work towards collaboration among all concerned entities in the public and private sectors across the country to raise awareness of the fact that Obesity is a disease, and to encourage those who are obese or overweight to aim for sustainable weight loss to improve their health,” said Dr. Paola Atallah, LSEDL President.

“While lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise are the first-line treatments for people with Obesity, most tend to engage in those sporadically and fail at sustaining any weight loss they achieve in the process, which is all the more reason they should be talking to their doctors about losing weight and keeping it off.”

Compounding the problem is that people who lose weight generally experience an increase in hunger and a decrease in fullness leading to an increased desire to eat, with changes persisting for at least one year as the body alters a number of hormones to prevent further weight loss.

“This is generally why second-line treatment options including pharmacotherapy are becoming more and more necessary,” added Atallah. “Medical advice for those who seek it is dependent on assessments of the severity of obesity-related co-morbidities in each individual, and their impact on their health.”

“It’s very important to be aware that Obesity is a serious chronic disease that stems from various factors and has numerous health consequences, even though it’s both preventable and treatable,” said Stathis Psimmenos, Lebanon General Manager at pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, a key LSEDL partner in the fight against Obesity.

“We need to cut Obesity rates by at least a quarter in order to prevent 100 million more people from having to live with diabetes by 2045,” he added. “At Novo Nordisk, we warn against increasing type 2 diabetes rates unless all those concerned with public health collectively work towards controlling and reversing the world’s growing Obesity epidemic.”

Rising Epidemic

A recent World Health Organization report has put nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa among those with the planet’s highest obesity levels: leading with Kuwait, where obesity rates are 37.5%, closely followed by Jordan at 35.5%, Saudi Arabia at 35.4%, Qatar at 35.1%, Libya at 32.5%, Egypt and Lebanon tying at 32%, the United Arab Emirates at 31.7%, and Iraq at 30.4%.

More on Obesity

Overweight and Obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.

Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults, with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater being classified as obese.