Conducting First National Health and Nutrition Survey


The purpose of the First National Health and Nutrition Survey (FNHANS) was to establish a database of habitual food and drink consumption in a representative sample of Palestinian adults, aged 18±64 years.

The current survey was unique, because it was the first project of its kind to be undertaken in the West Bank and Gaza using the same methodology.

FNHANS has established a relational database of habitual food and drink consumption, in addition to data on habitual physical activity, anthropometric measurements, socio-demographic factors, lifestyle, health status indicators and attitudes, in a nationally representative sample of the population of Palestine.

The results of this survey show that the prevalence of overweight but not obese was 35.5% in women and 40.2% in men, prevalence of obesity was 31.7% in women and 17.8% in men. Men and women between the ages of 45-54 years old were significantly more likely to be obese or overweight.

Approximately 75% of Palestinian adults have prehypertension (48.9%) or hypertension (25.3), and some population groups, such as West bank residents and older adults, are disproportionately affected. The awareness and appropriate management of hypertension among hypertensive participants remain low.

Prevalence of diabetes and IFG in the FNHANS study were 7.8% and 1.6%, respectively. Of these diabetic subjects, 1.2% were newly diagnosed. Diabetes prevalence in men was lower than that in women (6.8% vs. 8.8% for the age-standardized comparison), whereas prevalence of IFG was higher in men than in women (2.0% vs. 1.2% for the age-standardized comparison).

Overall, physical activity levels were low, particularly in women. Participation rates in recreational ± particularly vigorous recreational ± activities were low.
The survey found that macronutrient and micronutrient intake is inadequate in the population.

Overall, this survey reveals a number of nutrition and lifestyle issues that have important implications for public health. Further analysis of the database will be required to develop a better understanding of patterns of food and nutrient intake, and their association with lifestyle and demographic factors, in order to provide a stronger base for development of policies and programs for improving public health.