The burden of metabolic risk factors in North Africa and the Middle East, 1990–2019

Published June 3, 2023, in eClinicalMedicine (opens in a new window)



The objective of this study is to investigate the trends of exposure and burden attributable to the four main metabolic risk factors, including high systolic blood pressure (SBP), high fasting plasma glucose (FPG), high body-mass index (BMI), and high low-density lipoproteins cholesterol (LDL) in North Africa and the Middle East from 1990 to 2019.


The data were retrieved from Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Summary exposure value (SEV) was used for risk factor exposure. Burden attributable to each risk factor was incorporated in the population attributable fraction to estimate the total attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs).


While age-standardized death rate (ASDR) attributable to high-LDL and high-SBP decreased by 26.5% (18.6–35.2) and 23.4% (15.9–31.5) over 1990–2019, respectively, high-BMI with 5.1% (−9.0–25.9) and high-FPG with 21.4% (7.0–37.4) change, grew in ASDR. Moreover, age-standardized DALY rate attributed to high-LDL and high-SBP declined by 30.2% (20.9–39.0) and 25.2% (16.8–33.9), respectively. The attributable age-standardized DALY rate of high-BMI with 8.3% (−6.5–28.8) and high-FPG with 27.0% (14.3–40.8) increase, had a growing trend. Age-standardized SEVs of high-FPG, high-BMI, high-SBP, and high-LDL increased by 92.4% (82.8–103.3), 76.0% (58.9–99.3), 10.4% (3.8–18.0), and 5.5% (4.3–7.1), respectively.


The burden attributed to high-SBP and high-LDL decreased during the 1990–2019 period in the region, while the attributable burden of high-FPG and high-BMI increased. Alarmingly, exposure to all four risk factors increased in the past three decades. There has been significant heterogeneity among the countries in the region regarding the trends of exposure and attributable burden. Urgent action is required at the individual, community, and national levels in terms of introducing effective strategies for prevention and treatment that account for local and socioeconomic factors.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Malekpour M-R, Abbasi-Kangevari M, Ghamari S-H, et al. The burden of metabolic risk factors in North Africa and the Middle East, 1990–2019: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study. eClinicalMedicine. 2 June 2023. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2023.102022.