Urban diabetes in Beirut

Lebanon has for decades witnessed a rapid and uncontrolled urban growth and sprawl with more than 6 million people living in Lebanon. Lebanon is one of the most urbanised countries in both the world and the Arab region, with 88% of its population living in urban areas.

The lack of local planning and cross sectorial master plans hinders any absorption capacity of the increasing urban population1. Large parts of the suburbs of Beirut have become informal settlements housing refugees and Lebanese citizens with low incomes.

Life in these places that resemble camps has significant impact on the health of the citizens. Research at the American University of Beirut shows, that people living in informal settlements in Beirut experience poor health associated with inadequate housing quality2. 12.7% of Lebanon’s adult population have diabetes.3 In Lebanon, it is estimated that 25.4% of people with diabetes live in urban areas4.

  2. Urbanization in the Arab World: Between “Dubaification” & “Campification”
  3. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8 edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017.
  4. Fahs (2017). The Prevalence and Awareness of Cardiovascular Diseases Risk Factors among the Lebanese Population: A Prospective Study Comparing Urban to Rural Populations. Cardiology Research and Practice.

Beirut Skyline


Beirut partner Chronic Care Center
Embassy of Denmark
Beirut partner LSEDL
Beirut partner 4