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'Obesity in Jordan rises by 300,000 in four years'

By Elizabeth Turnbull - Jul 16,2019 - Last updated at Jul 16,2019

AMMAN — Around 1.6 million adults in Jordan aged 18 years and older were overweight in 2016, which is an increase of 300,000 people since 2012, according to the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report. 

The prevalence of obesity in Jordanian adults increased from 30.3 per cent to 33.4 per cent between 2012 and 2016, according to the report. 

“It is important to understand the causes of obesity and for governments to invest in prevention and early intervention measures to halt its worrying rise,” clinical dietician Majd Al Khatib told The Jordan Times Tuesday.

The report, released on Monday, is part of a series of studies produced by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and shows that while an estimated 820 million people did not have enough to eat in 2018, obesity is continuing to rise in all regions of the world, according to a FAO statement. 

While long work hours, minimal physical activity and poor eating habits can result in obesity, Khatib suggests that at the individual level, people should try and exercise for at least 30 minutes per day and focus on consuming more fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains as well as limiting the intake of fatty and sugary foods. 

Whereas Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE and Yemen all had obesity numbers higher than Jordan in 2016, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar had fewer people struggling with obesity at that time, according to the report. 

The report also showed that the prevalence of anaemia among women of reproductive age increased from 30.8 per cent in 2012 to 34.7 per cent in 2016, while the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding for Jordanian infants zero to five months old increased from 22.7 per cent in 2012 to 25.5 per cent in 2018, according to the report. 

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