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Nutrition transition in Morocco

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2006

Sabah Benjelloun*
Département des Sciences Alimentaires et Nutritionnelles, Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, BP 6202 Rabat-Instituts, 10101 Rabat, Morocco
*Corresponding author: Email
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To analyse the nutritional transition in Morocco.


Examination of Moroccan national survey data.


Morocco is undergoing a demographic, epidemiological and social transition. The urban population increased from 29% in 1960 to 53% in 1997. Per capita gross domestic product increased steadily from 1972 to 1999. Life expectancy at birth increased to 70 years in 1999 from 47 years in 1962. Both infant and juvenile mortalities have decreased, from 92/1000 and 69/1000 in 1982–87 to 46/1000 and 37/1000 in 1992–97, respectively. In parallel, the diet changed considerably: the intake of animal products increased while that of cereals and sugar remained relatively high, reflecting the specificity of Moroccan dietary habits. The rise in the consumption of meats and vegetables was accompanied by a steady consumption of bread, used to eat the sauce in which the meat and vegetables are cooked. Sugar is mainly used in tea, the very sweet, national drink consumed throughout the day. Under-nourishment persists among children under five (23% stunting and 10% underweight in 1997) while overweight is rising (9% in 1997 compared with 3% in 1987 for children under three). Among adults, overweight (body mass index (BMI) > 25 kgm−2) increased from 26% in 1984 to 36% in 1998. It is higher among women (32% in 1984 and 45% in 1998) than among males (19% in 1984 and 25% in 1998). It is also higher among urban populations (30% in 1984 and 40% in 1998) than rural populations (20% in 1984 and 29% in 1998). Obesity (BMI > 30 kgm−2) increased from 4% in 1984 to 10% in 1998. Overweight seems to be positively associated with economic status but negatively with education level.


Overweight and obesity constitute major health problems in Morocco.

Research Article
Copyright © CABI Publishing 2002


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