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J Family Community Med. 2019 Jan-Apr;26(1):1-8. doi: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_58_18.

A Profile of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviors, Sleep, and Dietary Habits of Saudi College Female Students.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Community Health Sciences, College of Applied Medical Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Lifestyle and Health Research, Health Science Research Center, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



Few studies have reported valid comprehensive data on lifestyle habits of Saudi college females. In addition, studies on sedentary behaviors (SBs) and the duration of sleep of Saudi college students are rare. Saudi females appear to be less physically active and therefore, at a higher risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate lifestyle patterns of Saudi college females, including physical activity (PA), SBs, duration of sleep, and dietary habits.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among females attending health science colleges of King Saud University, using multistage stratified cluster sample (n = 456). Weight, height, PA, SB, sleep, and dietary habits were all assessed using a previously validated questionnaire.


Nearly half of the college females were physically inactive. Females exercised mostly at home or alone at no specific time of day. Their activity was for health reasons (43.4%) for weight loss (28.7%); lack of time (71.2%) was the primary reason for inactivity. The majority (>85%) of females spent more time in sedentary activity (>3 h/day) while 95% of females had insufficient sleep (<8 h/night). Over 40% of the participants consumed breakfast or vegetables 5 days or more per week, whereas the corresponding proportions for fruit and milk/dairy products intake were 19.4% and 58.4%, respectively. The proportions of college females who consumed less healthy foods for 3+ days/week were fairly variable, ranging from 21.1% for French fries to 60.4% for chocolates/candy. The predictors of total PA time were increased the duration of sleep and reduced intake of French fries/potato chips.


Unhealthy lifestyle habit appears prevalent among Saudi college females. Efforts toward promoting PA, decreasing SB, and insufficient sleep and improving dietary habits in Saudi females are needed to reduce future risks of NCDs.


College female; Saudi Arabia; dietary habits; physical activity; risk factors; sedentary behaviors; sleep duration

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