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Saudi Med J. 2003 Jan;24(1):27-33.

Obesity among Saudi male adolescents in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity and its correlates among Saudi male adolescents in Riyadh. As well as evaluating their knowledge, attitude and practice towards obesity.


A cross-sectional study conducted in intermediate and secondary schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was carried out during a 5-month period, September 2001-January 2002. A sample of 894 Saudi male adolescents (age 12-20 years) was selected through the multi-stage sampling technique. Socio-demographic characteristics; dietary and activity history; obesity-related knowledge and behavior; and family and past medical history data were obtained by a self-administered questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements of weight and height were performed. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated, and adolescents with a BMI age-specific percentile of > or = 85th-< 95th were considered overweight and > or = 95th were considered obese.


The prevalence of overweight was 13.8% and obesity was 20.5%. Family history (odds ratio, 2.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.72-3.61) and lack of physical activity (odds ratio, 1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-2.62) were associated with adolescent obesity. Twenty percent of overweight participants did not think they were overweight.


Obesity constitutes an important public health problem among male adolescents in Riyadh. A national prevention program with involvement of schools is recommended to avoid obesity-related morbidity in adulthood.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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