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Public Health Nutr. 2014 Sep;17(9):2045-52. doi: 10.1017/S1368980013002218. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Physical activity, sedentary behaviours and dietary habits among Kuwaiti adolescents: gender differences.

Author information

  • 11Department of Family Sciences,College for Women,Kuwait University,Safat,Kuwait.
  • 22Food and Nutrition Science,College of Health Sciences,Showaikh,Kuwait.
  • 33Pediatric Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory,College of Education,King Saud University,Riyadh,Saudi Arabia.
  • 44Arab Nutrition Center,Manama and Nutrition and Health Studies Unit,Deanship of Scientific Research,University of Bahrain,Manama,Bahrain.
  • 55Nutrition and Dietetics,School of Public Health and Griffith Health Institute,Griffith University,Gold Coast Campus,QLD 4222,Australia.



The present study was designed to assess physical activity, sedentary behaviours and dietary habits among adolescents in Kuwait and to compare the differences between genders.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among secondary-school children who participated in the Arab Teens Lifestyle Study (ATLS), a multi-centre collaborative project.


Secondary schools in Kuwait.


Adolescents (463 boys and 443 girls), aged 14-19 years.


Nearly half (44·6 %) of the boys and three-quarters (76·0 %) of the girls did not meet the recommended daily physical activity levels (≥2520 MET-min/week, moderate to vigorous intensity). Nearly all (96·3 % of boys and 96·7 % of girls) adolescents reported spending >2 h/d on screen time, with girls found to spend more time per day watching television (P = 0·02) and using a computer (P < 0·001). The large majority of the adolescents reported skipping breakfast and not having milk and milk products, vegetables and fruit daily, while nearly two-thirds of the boys and girls had sugar-sweetened drinks on more than 3 d/week. Compared with girls, boys reported consuming more fruit (3·4 v. 2·8 times/week, P = 0·001), dairy products (4·5 v. 3·6 times/week, P = 0·001) and energy drinks (1·3 v. 1·1 times/week, P = 0·003).


The majority of the Kuwaiti adolescents, especially girls, do not perform adequate physical activity, spend more time on sedentary activities and have unhealthy dietary practices. The findings emphasize an urgent need for implementing an appropriate intervention for promoting physical activity, healthy eating and reducing sedentary behaviours among these children.

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