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J R Soc Promot Health. 1999 Dec;119(4):223-7.

Obesity among Kuwait University students: an explorative study.

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Department of Community Medicine and Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kuwait, Safat, Kuwait.


University students' dietary habits have been criticised for their nutritional inadequacy and faddism. Kuwait University students may face the risk of obesity because of affluence and modernization and the dynamic changes in their level of physical activity and caloric intake. This promoted a study of a random sample of 842 Kuwait University students for dietary and socioeconomic factors associated with obesity. Weight and height were measured to calculate the body mass index (BMI), which is the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared (kg/m2). Obesity was classified into grade 1 and 2 (BMI > 25 and > 30 kg/m2). The associated factors studied and obtained through questionnaires included gender, age, marital status, parental obesity, education and occupation, dieting, last dental and health check-up, year of study, number of siblings (total, brothers and sisters), eating in between meals, high school and college GPA and major, exercising, number of regular meals eaten, obese relatives, those living at home, and servants, highest desired degree, birth order, having a chronic disease, countries prefer visiting, family income, governorate, and socioeconomic status (SES). Grade 1 and 2 obesity were found to be 32.0 and 8.9%, respectively. Factors that were found to be significantly associated with obesity included gender, age, marital status, obesity among parents, dieting, last physical check-up, year of study, number of brothers, sisters and regular meals eaten and high school GPA. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the same factors significantly contributed to the development of obesity except the last four. The level of obesity among Kuwait University students is high. Obesity is a risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases. There is a need to address the challenge of instituting measures that would reduce the future ill-effects of obesity on young adults. It is widely believed that during the young adult years many important health habits are formed and set. It is at this stage (or earlier) that wellness and self-care programming for college students is essential and worthy of being explored and its efficacy assessed.

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