Socio-cultural and economic factors affecting food consumption patterns in the Arab countries

J R Soc Health. 1993 Apr;113(2):68-74. doi: 10.1177/146642409311300205.


Several factors have been found to determine the dietary habits of the people in the Arab world. Food consumption pattern has dramatically changed in some Arab countries as a result of sudden increase in income from oil revenue. It is believed that food subsidy policy has adversely affected the food habits in the Gulf states by encouraging the intake of fat, sugar, rice, wheat flour and meat. Socio-cultural factors such as religion, beliefs, food preferences, gender discrimination, education and women's employment all have a noticeable influence on food consumption patterns in this region. Mass media, especially televised food advertisements, play an important role in modifying the dietary habits. The migration movement, particularly that which was carried out during the 70s has a great impact on the food practices in many Arab countries. Comprehensive studies on social, cultural and economic factors associated with food consumption patterns in the Arab region are highly recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islam
  • Male
  • Middle East
  • Socioeconomic Factors*