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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-18

Prevalence of overweight and obesity among Saudi primary school students in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

Department of Family Medicine, Armed Forces Hospitals Administration - Northwestern Region, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Salem Khalil Al Dahi
Department of Home Health Care Services, North West Armed Forces Hospital, P.O. Box 100, Tabuk 71411
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-2618.137569

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Background: Childhood obesity is one of the most serious health challenges of the 21st century. The problem is global and the prevalence is increasing at an alarming rate. Objectives: To determine the prevalence and risk factors of overweight and obesity among Saudi primary school students in AlAbnaa primary schools in Tabuk. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among primary schools students in AlAbnaa Schools in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Sampling frame included all genders. In the first stage, a sample of four primary schools had been selected using simple random technique-two primary school for boys and two for girls. In the second stage, stratified sampling technique had been used. The data was collected through a self-administered validated questionnaire. Height and weight of the subjects were measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Recently published 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts which depended on data from widely different ethnic backgrounds and cultural settings were used for defining overweight and obesity among students. Results: A total of 331 out of the target study subjects of 350 responded to the survey giving a response rate of 94.6%. Age of the respondents ranged from 6-13 years old and the mean age was 9.7 ± 2.1 years. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among male primary school students were 7.3% and 17.4%, respectively while the prevalence among female students were 12.4% and 20.9%, respectively. Overweight and obesity were more prevalent among student living with both parents (P = 0.031), with highly educated parents (P = 0.008), with history of maternal obesity (P = 0.001), with working mothers (P = 0.024), and with smaller family size (P = 0.004). Conclusion: The results of the current study provide alarming evidence-based data on the considerable prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity among Saudi primary school children in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

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