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The Middle East’s public health challenges are enormous, especially when one accounts for the region’s transient population of refugees and guest workers. The refugee population alone now numbers in the millions, and is straining health care systems in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey nearly to the breaking point.

Affluent Gulf Cooperation Council countries would be mistaken to assume that they are exempt from their neighbors’ public health problems. While GCC countries have made major improvements in hygiene and maternal and child health, they form the global epicenter of chronic noncommunicable diseases — such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and, increasingly, cancer — that result from lifestyle and diet.

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