New traditions in Middle Eastern hospitality

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


A lavish platter of sweets is offered to guests at an event in the Middle East. The tradition of hospitality is deeply valued among Arab populations, whose roots are embedded in a harsh landscape where travelers were infrequent and human contact was precious. Nowadays this rich history translates to new forms of hospitality where traditional food such as coffee, camel milk, and dates are replaced by creatively presented arrays of energy-dense sweets. Generous volumes of such treats are gifted or offered on every celebratory and many regular occasions—births, marriages, birthdays, and as gifts for hospital inpatients—posing a substantial public health challenge to the modern Arab world.


Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology