Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 117–125 | Cite as

Eating Disorders in Lebanon: Directions for Public Health Action

  • Nadine ZeeniEmail author
  • Hiba Safieddine
  • Rita Doumit
Original Paper


Research in the field of eating disorders (ED) is limited in the Middle East. The aim of the present study was to profile Lebanese ED outpatients. A mixed-method design was used. Clinicians across Lebanon filled individual questionnaires about their 2013 ED outpatients (n = 104) and participated in focus groups. Results showed that bulimia nervosa was the most prevalent ED (46.1 %) followed by anorexia nervosa (39.4 %) and binge eating (14.4 %). The emerging socio-demographic profile of the Lebanese ED patient was that of a single female young adult of middle to high socio-economic status with severe ED symptoms (amenorrhea, multiple purging behaviors) and depression. Also, there was a general delay in seeking help which made patient recovery more difficult. The present study emphasizes the critical need for a public health approach to ED awareness and could help in developing preventive and remedial educational programs targeting youth in Lebanon and the Middle East.


Eating disorders Outpatients Purging behaviors Clinical profile Middle East 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Information

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Lebanese American University. Written informed consent was obtained from all clinicians before they were enrolled in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Sciences, School of Arts and SciencesLebanese American UniversityByblosLebanon
  2. 2.Middle East Eating Disorders Association (MEEDA)BeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Alice Ramez Chaghouri School of NursingLebanese American UniversityByblosLebanon

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