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Overweight and Obesity in Saudi Arabian Adult Population, Role of Sociodemographic Variables

"The objectives of this Community-based National Epidemiological Household Survey, conducted between 1990–1993, were to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Saudi Arabia and to examine its association with the socio-demographic characteristics of the adult population. A sample of Saudis 20 years and over was selected using a multistage stratified cluster sampling technique with probability proportionate to size. The selected subjects were requested to visit primary health care centers in their localities. Physicians in these clinics took measurements of heights and weights and collected other relevant data. Obesity was measured by the Body Mass Index, using the Quetelet Index. The results showed the sample of 10,651 subjects of which 50.8% were males, had a mean age of 35.8 years (SD = 14.27 years). The prevalence of overweight was 31.2% (95% confidence interval: 30.3%, 32.1%); 33.1% for males and 29.4% for females. For obesity, the overall prevalence was 22.1%; males 17.8% and females 26.6%. The study design suggested that these estimates could be closer to the true values. The multiple logistic regression analysis showed that age, residential area, region, income, gender, and education are statistically significant predictors of obesity. The prevalence of obesity was higher in females than males, lower in subjects living in rural areas with traditional lifestyles than those in more urbanized environments, and increased with increasing age. The observed prevalence and pattern of overweight and obesity with age and gender is similar to those observed in the Arab community and some Western nations. There is a need for increased physical activity and better nutrition education programs to reduce the extent of obesity and to pre-vent the serious health consequences, especially, in the middle age group."
Abdulrahman A. Al-Nuaim, Elijah A. Bamgboye, Khalid A. Al-Rubeaan , Yagob Al-Mazrou
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia
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