Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Nov;20(11):1000-5.

The pattern of growth and obesity in Saudi Arabian male school children.

Author information

  • 1King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



To determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity among male school children in Saudi Arabia and provide a growth chart for males 6-18 y old.


Three stage stratified cluster sampling procedure.


The study population was 9061 male school children, attending public schools in Saudi Arabia. Their ages ranged from 6-18 y and covered all the 12 grade levels of school. Children with evidence of chronic or acute diseases were excluded from the study.


Structured questionnaire, including: location of school, socio-demographic characteristics and age of the student. Anthropometric measurements of weight and height was done for all the study sample. Growth charts were designed through fitting the polynomial regression model of degree three. The percentage of body mass index (BMI) of expected BMI at the 50th percentile for each age group was computed. The 50th percentile of The National Center for Health Statistics/Center for Disease Control reference population was used as the expected standard population values for defining childhood overweight and obesity.


The overall prevalence of overweight was 11.7% and obesity 15.8%. There was a statistically significant variation in the regional distribution of overweight and obesity (P < 0.01). The highest prevalence (18.0%) was recorded in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, and the lowest was in Sabea (11.1%) located in the Southern region.


These findings of a high prevalence of childhood obesity when compared with the NCHS/CDC calls for an early health education program on the appropriate choice of diets for growth, health and longevity. However, because of the possible ethnic differences between the Saudi and American populations, the growth charts presented could serve as a better reference for future comparisons.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk