There are limited data on regional variation of overweight and obesity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the aim of this report is to explore the magnitude of these variation in order to focus preventive programs to regional needs.
Setting and Design:
Community-based multistage random sample of representative cohort from each region.
Patients and Methods:
the study sample was cross-sectional, representative of healthy children and adolescents from 2 to 17 years of age. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated according to the formula (weight/height2). The 2000 center for disease control reference was used for the calculation of prevalence of overweight and obesity defined as the proportion of children and adolescents whose BMI for age was above 85th and 95th percentiles respectively, for Northern, Southwestern and Central regions of the Kingdom. Chi-square test was used to assess the difference in prevalence between regions and a P value of <0.05 was considered significant.
The sample size was 3525, 3413 and 4174 from 2-17 years of age in the Central, Southwestern and Northern regions respectively. The overall prevalence of overweight was 21%, 13.4% and 20.1%, that of obesity was 9.3%, 6% and 9.1% in the Central, Southwestern and Northern regions respectively indicating a significantly-lower prevalence in the Southwestern compared to other regions (P<0.0001).
This report revealed significant regional variations important to consider in planning preventive and therapeutic programs tailored to the needs of each region.
Keywords: Obesity, prevalence of overweight, regional variations, Saudi children