Diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa

Azadeh Zabetian, Heval Mohamed Keli, Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, K. M.Venkat Narayan, Mohammed K. Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Aims: Even though the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region had the highest comparative prevalence of diabetes in 2012, little is known about the nuances of diabetes risk and capacity to address the burdens. To provide a comprehensive overview, we reviewed the literature on diabetes in the MENA region. Methods: We conducted a systematic search in PubMed between January 1990 and January 2012 for studies on diabetes in the MENA region without language restriction. Results: There was a paucity of country-specific epidemiology data in the region. Diabetes prevalence varied widely across studies, from 2.5% in 1982 to 31.6% in 2011. Older age and higher body mass index were the most strongly associated risk factors for diabetes. Among people with diabetes, over half did not meet recommended care targets. In addition, macrovascular and microvascular complications were observed in 9-12% and 15-54% of diabetes population, respectively. Conclusions: This review suggests a need for more representative surveillance data in this noteworthy focal point of the global diabetes epidemic. Such actions will not only help to understand the actual burden of diabetes but also motivate actions on design and implementation of diabetes prevention and control programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-122
Number of pages17
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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