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1.  The Effect of Parental Socioeconomic Class on Children’s Body Mass Indices 
Objective: To assess the effect of education and economic status of parents on obesity in children.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2006 among school children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A representative sample of 1243 (542 male and 701 female) children aged 6-16 years were contacted using multistage cluster sampling strategy. Social and demographic variables were collected using questionnaires completed by parents. Height and weight of the children were recorded by a trained team.
Results: The mean body mass index for all children was 19.8±5.4. The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity were 21.1% and 12.7%, respectively. Overweight and obesity were more prevalent in males than in females. By multivariate analysis, children were more likely to be overweight if they were male (OR=0.6, p<0.01), 12 years of age (OR=3.79, p<0.01, compared to age 6 years), and if their families had higher income (OR=3.12, p<0.01, compared to families with low income). Being male (OR=0.545, p <0.01), aged 12 years (OR=3.9, p=0.005, compared to the age of 6), and having a mother who is more educated were determined to be significant risk factors for obesity in children. Mothers educated at university level were found to have a three-fold higher risk of having obese children(OR=3.4, p<0.01, compared to mothers with lower education levels).
Conclusions: Overweight and obesity among Saudi children is associated with educated mothers and higher family income. This finding calls for introducing interventions in health education for both children and parents.
Conflict of interest:None declared.
PMCID: PMC3701916  PMID: 23748064
children; overweight; obesity; socioeconomic; education
2.  Prevalence of Self-reported Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Saudi Physicians: A Comparative Study 
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death worldwide. CVD-related mortality can be substantially reduced by modifying risk factors.
In this cross-sectional study conducted in King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, we estimated and compared prevalence of self-reported risk factors for CVD among physicians and a comparative group of non-physician health workers. We postulated that prevalence of CVD risk factors would be significantly lower in physicians. Participants filled in a structured self-administered questionnaire on CVD risk factors.
The study included 200 participants (100 respondents each group). Participants in the two groups were of similar age (P = 0.46) and Body Mass Index (BMI) P = 0.11. There was no statistical difference in smoking, frequency and length of physical exercise per week (P = 0.53, 0.57, 0.47 respectively). Diet habits showed daily intake of more protein, less fat and highly processed food, and similar vegetables, fruit and carbohydrate among physicians. Health status (presence of hypertension, diabetes, or dyslipidemia, or other diseases) didn’t differ between the two groups. Physicians showed a significantly higher familial cardiovascular risk, with mothers and siblings having more dyslipidemia, but there was no significant difference in parental dyslipidemia, diabetes or hypertension.
These findings indicate that high awareness of CVD and associated risk factors alone is not enough to prevent their occurrence. Programs to routinely screen these risk factors and improve the lifestyle of physicians are needed.
PMCID: PMC3612413  PMID: 23559900
Cardiovascular disease; risk factors; physicians; Saudi Arabia
3.  Prevalence of Metabolic Abnormalities and Association with Obesity among Saudi College Students 
Aim. (i) To estimate the prevalence of the metabolic abnormalities among Saudi college students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and (ii) to investigate the association between different indicators of body composition and these abnormalities. Methods. A total of 501 college students participated in a cross-sectional study. Anthropometric assessments, BP measurements, and biochemical assessment were done. Metabolic abnormalities were identified. Results. Applying BMI, 21.9 % and 20.6% of students were classified as overweight and obese, respectively. Central obesity was prevalent in 26.9% and 42.2% of students based on WC and WHtR, respectively. Other metabolic abnormalities were hypertension (23.6%) and abnormal FPG level (22.6%). Three or more abnormalities were prevalent in 7.8% of students and increased significantly to 26.4%, 20%, and 17.6 in obese subjects based on BMI, WC, and WHtR, respectively. With the exception of abnormal FPG, prevalence of individual metabolic abnormalities as well as the number of these abnormalities significantly increased with increasing BMI, WC, and WHtR (P < 0.001 each). Conclusion. Our findings provide evidence for the presence of MS in Saudi college students. Central adiposity contributes to the high incidence of individual MS components. College health programs that promote healthful lifestyle and avoidance of adult weight gain are recommended.
PMCID: PMC3536048  PMID: 23316346
4.  Integration of evidence based medicine into the clinical years of a medical curriculum 
Teaching Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) helps medical students to develop their decision making skills based on current best evidence, especially when it is taught in a clinical context. Few medical schools integrate Evidence Based Medicine into undergraduate curriculum, and those who do so, do it at the academic years only as a standalone (classroom) teaching but not at the clinical years. The College of Medicine at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences was established in January 2004. The college adopted a four-year Problem Based Learning web-based curriculum. The objective of this paper is to present our experience in the integration of the EBM in the clinical phase of the medical curriculum. We teach EBM in 3 steps: first step is teaching EBM concepts and principles, second is teaching the appraisal and search skills, and the last step is teaching it in clinical rotations. Teaching EBM at clinical years consists of 4 student-centered tutorials. In conclusion, EBM may be taught in a systematic, patient centered approach at clinical rounds. This paper could serve as a model of Evidence Based Medicine integration into the clinical phase of a medical curriculum.
PMCID: PMC3410178  PMID: 22870419
Clinical years; evidence based medicine; medical curriculum; medical education
5.  Puberty Onset Among Boys in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
The ages of onset of pubertal characteristics are influenced by genetic, geographic, dietary and socioeconomic factors; however, due to lack of country-specific norms, clinicians in Saudi Arabia use Western estimates as standards of reference for local children.
The aim of the Riyadh Puberty Study was to provide data on pubertal development to determine the average age of onset of pubertal characteristics among Saudi boys.
Cross-sectional study among male school children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2006, 542 schoolboys, aged 6 to 16 years old, from diverse socioeconomic levels were selected into the sample using a cluster sample design. Tanner stages were ascertained during physical examination by pediatric endocrine consultants, and also trained pediatric residents and fellows.
The mean age (standard deviation) at Tanner Stages 2, 3, 4, and 5 for pubic hair development of Saudi boys was 11.4 (1.6), 13.3 (1.3), 14.4 (1.0) and 15.1 (0.8) years old, respectively. For gonadal development, the mean age (standard deviation) at stages 2, 3, 4, and 5 were 11.4 (1.5), 13.3 (1.2), 14.3 (1.1) and 15.0 (0.9) years old, respectively.
The ages of onset of pubertal characteristics, based on gonadal development, among Saudi boys are comparable to those reported in Western populations.
PMCID: PMC3666985  PMID: 23761992
adolescence; boys; pubertal characteristics; puberty onset; Riyadh; Saudi Arabia

Results 1-5 (5)