Long-term Lifestyle-modification Programs for Overweight and Obesity Management in the Arab States: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Kreidieh, D., Itani, L., El Kassas, G., El Masri, D., Calugi, S., Dalle Grave, R., & El Ghoch, M. (2017). Long-term lifestyle-modification programs for overweight and obesity management in the Arab states: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Curr Diabetes Rev. doi:10.2174/1573399813666170619085756



Obesity is a growing health problem worldwide. It is associated with serious medical and psychosocial comorbidities that increase the risk of mortality. However, strong evidence confirms lifestyle-modification programs as the cornerstone treatment for excess weight and obesity. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the effectiveness of the lifestyle-modification programs for weight management delivered in Arabic-speaking countries.


The PubMed database was searched, and studies conducted in humans were identified and screened as per the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Data were collated using meta-analysis and a narrative approach.


Of the 1057 articles retrieved, six studies, conducted in four Arab countries, comprising a total of 444 adolescent and adult participants of both genders with overweight and obesity, met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Most studies that assessed weight loss at 6-month follow-up showed no significant reduction in body weight. Meta-analysis confirmed that the lifestyle-modification programs delivered were no more effective than other treatments. Only one article reported significant weight-loss maintenance after 12 months of follow-up. However this was a prospective non-controlled study in which the weight loss maintained (=4%) did not conform to the standard for clinical significance (>10%).


Lifestyle-modification programs for weight management delivered in Arabic-speaking countries seem lacking in effectiveness due to methodological weaknesses in program adaptation, a lack of expert clinical supervision before and during implementation, and the presence of barriers to lifestyle modification, especially for women. Future studies should bear these features in mind.


Arab countries. ; Lifestyle modification; Obesity; Overweight; Type 2 diabetes; Weight loss treatment

DOI: 10.2174/1573399813666170619085756