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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 48-54

Association between obesity and mental disorders among male students of King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia

1 Ministry of Health, Joint Program of Family Medicine, Aseer Region, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, King Khaled University, Abha, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Medicine, King Khaled University, Abha, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ali Abdullah AlMousa AlQahtani
Trainer in Joint Program of Family Medicine, Aseer Region
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-2618.171953

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Background: Previous research suggested that obesity is associated with an increased risk of mental illness. Depression, stress, and anxiety are among the psychological problems that are commonly associated with obesity among students. However, evidence linking obesity to mental illness is inconsistent. Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the associations between mental disorders (in particular the depression, anxiety, and stress) and obesity in the male students of King Khalid University (KKU). Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted including male Saudi students enrolled in KKU at Abha City during the academic year 2013-2014. A multi-stage random sampling technique was adopted. Data were collected using the Arabic version of the depression anxiety stress scale. Results: The study included 389 university students. Their age ranged between 18 and 26 years with a mean age of 21.2 ΁ 1.5 years. They were almost equally distributed between four colleges (Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences, and Languages and translation). Overweight was reported among 22.1% of the students whereas obesity was reported among 18.3% of them. The overall prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress were 48.1, 58.9, and 40.4%, respectively. The association of obesity with depression, anxiety, and stress was found statistically significant (P < 0.001, <0.001 and <0.003, respectively). Conclusion: The prevalence of overweight and obesity are considerably high among male University Students in Abha. These findings suggest that obesity is associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. Prospective studies will ultimately be required in order to clarify the temporal relation between obesity and common mental disorders.

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