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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29-37

Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Saudi population: A population-based cross-sectional study

New You Medical Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Aayed R Alqahtani
New You Medical Center, Riyadh, Baabada, Riyadh 11671
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjo.SJO_6_22

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Background: There is a scarcity of comprehensive data on the epidemiology of overweight /obesity and its association with diet- and activity-related behaviors among the Saudi Arabian adult population. The present study aims to determine prevalence of overweight and obesity and estimates factors that may be associated with obesity in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted with a representative multistage random cluster sample of the Saudi Arabian adult population (n = 12,154; male= 5,523, female = 6631). Measurements included weight, height, body mass index (BMI), screen time, physical activity, and dietary habits (validated questionnaire). Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics; Student’s t-test, Chi-squared tests, ANOVA and logistic regression were employed to examine the associations between obesity and lifestyle factors. Results: Overall, 72.4% of the Saudis who participated in this study suffered from overweight or obesity; (31.9% overweight and 40.5% obese). The prevalence of obesity and overweight increased with age and reached a peak among those aged 50–59 years. Additionally, men were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight or obese than women (crude odds ratio [OR]: 1.54, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.42, 1.64). This association did not change after adjusting for other factors such as age, exercise habits, snack habits, educational attainment and co-morbidities. The odds of obesity/overweight was 42% greater for those who never exercised compared to those who exercised daily [adjusted (adj.) OR: 1.42 (1.21, 1.67)]. Conclusion: Age, gender, education attainment, exercise habits and co-morbidities were important factors found to be associated with high BMI among the adult population of Saudi Arabia. The present findings reinforce the importance of reforming public health strategies for effective prevention and management of overweight and obesity in Saudi Arabia.

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