Despite the dark image we see of Lebanon and Beirut, I see hope in the people and the neighbourhoods and the people who work in the organisations. Beirut can be a healthier city. With the capacity and the opportunity, people would follow a healthier lifestyle, and they would be able to seek assistance.
Dima Zayat, Health Manager of ANERA Lebanon
39.1% of adults in Lebanon are physically inactive (43.7% of adult men, 34.2% of adult women)1.
Around 80% of daily trips in greater Beirut are made in private cars, and less than 2% in buses2.
People living in informal settlements experience poor health3
With more than 6 million residents, Lebanon experienced rapid and uncontrolled growth for decades. Today 88% of the population lives in urban areas and the lack of local planning hinders the city’s capacity to absorb the influx of new residents.4 Large parts of Beirut’s suburbs are now informal settlements housing refugees and impoverished Lebanese citizens who often have poor health as a result of their living conditions.5
Without action, the increase of adult obesity in Beirut will continue along current trends. However, if weight distribution were to remain at 2017 levels and we could reduce the rate of obesity by 25%, Beirut would see more than 125,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and save almost 110 million dollars in healthcare expenditure by 2045.6
1. World Health Organization. Diabetes Country Profiles. Lebanon, 2016.
3. https://syndicateofhospitals.org.lb Urbanization in the Arab World: Between “Dubaification” & “Campification”)
5. https://syndicateofhospitals.org.lb Urbanization in the Arab World: Between “Dubaification” & “Campification”
6. Cities Changing Diabetes. Diabetes Projection Model for Lebanon. Data on file. Novo Nordisk. In: Incentive, ed. Holte, Denmark 2017.