Gaps and opportunities for nutrition research in relation to non-communicable diseases in Arab countries: Call for an informed research agenda
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract: Effective public health nutrition interventions are needed to curb the escalating prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in many Arab countries. In order to generate the scientific evidence needed for the success of these interventions, an informed research agenda should be developed. The purpose of this review is to identify gaps and opportunities for research on nutrition and NCDs among Arab countries, which is an important step towards the formulation of this research agenda. Published papers that addressed nutrition and NCDs in Arab countries between the years 2006 and 2015were reviewed (n = 824). Themain gaps identified were related to the predominance of laboratory-based studies with few cohort and intervention studies, and the small percentage of articles examining dietary patterns. While food frequency questionnaires were the main dietary assessment method used, only 35% were validated. Very few studies included children and the majority considered nutrition in isolation, excluding other environmental factors. Opportunities identified included the promising momentum in studying nutrition and NCDs among Arab countries, evidenced by an increasing number of articles published over the years, that may be guided in future nutrition research to fill the identified gaps. In addition, the higher number of articles in high-income countries coupled with the impact of papers in middle-income countries suggests an opportunity of synergistic collaboration among these countries. The identified gaps and opportunities in this review may serve as basis for Arab countries to start developing a research agenda in the area of nutrition and NCDs.