Physical activity interventions promoted in the Arabic-speaking region: A review of the current literature

Document Type



The Arabic-speaking region suffers from insufficient levels of physical activity (PA). Assessing the effectiveness of PA interventions presents a scientifically evaluated method to reduce and prevent the current high burden of noncommunicable diseases affecting this region. This review examined implemented PA interventions and corresponding measured health outcomes in this region. The review was limited to studies prior to January 2020 using nine electronic academic databases. Only intervention-focused articles incorporating PA as the primary intervention or as a component of a multibehavioural intervention were included. Thirty-nine PA intervention studies were identified. Published PA interventions were implemented among 50% of the countries in the region. Seventy percent of the studies were conducted in the Gulf region and 25% in North Africa. A third of the studies was designed for children and adolescents. Accordingly, 40% of interventions were for patients living with comorbidities. Seventy percent of the studies included PA as part of a multidisciplinary intervention. Most studies included body mass index as an outcome parameter. Significant improvement (P < .05) in measured health outcomes was seen in 97% of studies. Thorough analysis includes social and culturally congruent aspects of the PA interventions and discussion of resultant health outcomes. This information furthers the understanding of effective PA interventions that can be adapted to target sedentary lifestyle behaviours in this region.




© 2020 World Obesity Federation

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Benajiba N, Mahrous L, Janah K, Alqabbani SF, Chavarria EA, & Aboul-Enein BH. Physical activity interventions promoted in the Arabic-speaking region: Reviewing the current literature. Obesity Reviews, 2020; 21(8): e13032. doi: 10.1111/obr.13032