Sophie Julien, PhD

Title: Study of the Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity Among the Lebanese Population and its Relationship with Non-communicable Diseases

Duration: 11 months

Summary: The alarming increase in overweight status and obesity worldwide independently of gender and age, exacerbated by the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, is becoming a global health concern. More specifically, visceral body fat is now a major risk factor for non-communicable metabolic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic syndrome (MetS). There is emerging evidence that the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically changed people’s behavior towards poor lifestyle with sedentary and overeating habits. The most direct impact of such tight lockdown policies is the increased risk for lipid and glucose metabolism disruption, weight gain, and consequently MetS. Moreover, exposure to liquid constituents, such as formaldehyde, glycerin, and acetone in electronic cigarettes (EC), alters oxidative stress responses, leading to predisposition to CVD distinct from those associated with tobacco cigarette (TC) use.

Unfortunately, the trending EC use among young adults who believe that EC is harmless is a new risk factor for CVD. Children, adolescents, and young adults were probably the most affected by pandemic isolation as they are more likely to reprogram to unfavorable lifestyle changes. Consequences of such behavioral changes among the young generations are disastrous in term of short and long-term economic/health burden and mortality. It is therefore urgent to map the population at risk for MetS or CVD due to poor dietary habits and unhealthy lifestyle, such as use of EC, and develop immediate strategies to prevent a metabolic health crisis.

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