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Saudi Med J. 2007 Mar;28(3):415-21.

Life style and nutrition and their impact on health of Saudi school students in Abha, Southwestern region of Saudi Arabia.

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  • 1Female College of Health Sciences, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



To evaluate the life style and dietary habits of school students and the prevalence of some nutritional problems.


We conducted this study in Abha city during the scholastic year 2000. A two-stage random sample was used to select the students. The sample consisted of 767 male and female students in different grades of education. A designed questionnaire was used to collect data regarding life style practices and dietary habits. Weight, height, and body mass index were obtained.


Diets were rich in carbohydrates, and deficient in fiber. Breakfast was a regular meal for 72% of primary school students compared to 49% of secondary school students. Milk was consumed daily by 51.5% of the sample; fast food consumption was low (2.0 +/- 1.7 times/month). Physical exercise was practiced significantly longer by males than by females; 8.6% and 5.8% of males in intermediate and secondary grades were smokers. Sleeping hours during school days were adequate (7.4 +/- 1.7 hours/day), but relatively higher (9.5 +/- 2.3) during vacation. Underweight (18.9%), obesity (15.9%), and overweight (11%) were prevalent. Overweight and obesity were significantly more prevailing among females of primary and secondary grades.


Health education and physical education programs in the schools are recommended to promote healthy life styles and dietary habits. School feeding programs may be required to achieve some of these goals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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