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1.  Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Abdominal Obesity among Urban Saudi Adolescents: Gender and Regional Variations 
ABSTRACT
The nutrition transition with associated lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases has rapidly reached many developing countries, including Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and abdominal obesity among Saudi adolescents. This school-based multicentre cross-sectional study was conducted during 2009-2010 in three major cities in Saudi Arabia: Al-Khobar, Jeddah, and Riyadh. Participants included 2,908 students of secondary schools (1,401 males and 1,507 females) aged 14 to 19 years, randomly selected using a multistage stratified cluster-sampling technique. Weight, height, and waist-circumference were measured; prevalence of overweight and obesity was determined using age- and sex-specific BMI cutoff reference standards of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). Abdominal obesity was determined using waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) cutoffs (above 0.5). The prevalence of overweight was 19.5% in males and 20.8% in females while that of obesity was 24.1% in males and 14% in females. The prevalence of abdominal obesity in males and females was 35.9% and 30.3% respectively. Higher prevalence of obesity was observed among adolescents in private schools. Across all ages, overweight and obesity ranged from 39.9% to 45.6% in males and from 30.4% to 38.7% in females. ANCOVA, controlling for age, showed significant interaction effects (city by gender). It is concluded that the proportions of overweight, obesity, and abdominal obesity, observed among Saudi adolescents were remarkably high. Such high prevalence of overweight and obesity is a major public-health concern.
PMCID: PMC4438694  PMID: 25895197
Adolescents; BMI; Obesity; Waist-circumference; Saudi Arabia
2.  A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Health Behaviors between Saudi and British Adolescents Living in Urban Areas: Gender by Country Analyses 
This study investigated the cross-cultural differences and similarity in health behaviors between Saudi and British adolescents. A school-based cross-sectional study was conducted at four cities in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh and Al-Khobar; N = 1,648) and Britain (Birmingham and Coventry; N = 1,158). The participants (14–18 year-olds) were randomly selected using a multistage stratified cluster sampling technique. Measurements included anthropometric, screen time, validated physical activity (PA) questionnaire and dietary habits. The overweight/obesity prevalence among Saudi adolescents (38.3%) was significantly (p < 0.001) higher than that found among British adolescents (24.1%). The British adolescents demonstrated higher total PA energy expenditure than Saudi adolescents (means ± SE = 3,804.8 ± 81.5 vs. 2,219.9 ± 65.5 METs-min/week). Inactivity prevalence was significantly (p < 0.001) higher among Saudi adolescents (64%) compared with that of British adolescents (25.5%). The proportions of adolescents exceeding 2 h of daily screen time were high (88.0% and 90.8% among Saudis and British, respectively). The majority of Saudi and British adolescents did not have daily intakes of breakfast, fruit, vegetables and milk. MANCOVA showed significant (p < 0.05) gender by country interactions in several lifestyle factors. There was a significant (p < 0.001) gender differences in the ratio of physical activity to sedentary behaviors. In conclusion, Saudi and British adolescents demonstrated some similarities and differences in their PA levels, sedentary behaviors and dietary habits. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors among adolescents appear to be a cross-cultural phenomenon.
doi:10.3390/ijerph10126701
PMCID: PMC3881136  PMID: 24300072
adolescents; British; culture; dietary habits; lifestyle factors; physical activity; Saudi; screen time; sedentary behaviors
3.  Prevalence of short sleep duration and its association with obesity among adolescents 15- to 19-year olds: A cross-sectional study from three major cities in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2012;7(3):133-139.
BACKGROUND:
Adequate sleep has been considered important for the adolescent's health and well being. On the other hand, self-imposed sleep curtailment is now recognized as a potentially important and novel risk factor for obesity. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of short sleep duration and its association with obesity among Saudi adolescents.
METHODS:
This is a school-based cross-sectional study with self-reported sleep questionnaires. It was conducted during the years 2009/2010 in three cities in Saudi Arabia; Al-Khobar, Jeddah, and Riyadh. Participants were 2868 secondary-school males (1379) and females (1389) aged 15 to 19 years, randomly selected using a multistage stratified sampling technique. Measurements included weight, height, waist circumference, BMI, and sleeping duration. Logistic regression analysis while adjusted for age, gender, and location was used to examine the associations between sleep duration and obesity measures.
RESULTS:
The mean (SD) of sleep duration was 7.2 (1.6) hours/day with no significant differences between males and females. About 31% of the participants obtain less than 7 hours of sleep per day, while approximately 50% of the sample gets less than 8 hours of daily sleep. Two-way ANCOVA results while controlling for the effect of age revealed a significant gender by school-type interaction (P<0.001). In addition, adequate sleep duration increased the odds of having normal weight (adjusted odds ratios = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.08-1.50, P = 0.003).
CONCLUSION:
The present study observed a high prevalence of short sleep duration among Saudi adolescents 15- to 19-year olds and that short sleep duration was significantly associated with increased risk of overweight and obesity. Future interventions should investigate whether adopting a healthy lifestyle by adolescents with short sleep duration would improve their sleeping habits or not.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.98845
PMCID: PMC3425044  PMID: 22924070
Adolescents; obesity; Saudi Arabia; sleep duration; waist circumference
4.  Lifestyle factors associated with overweight and obesity among Saudi adolescents 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:354.
Background
A better understanding of the relationships between obesity and lifestyle factors is necessary for effective prevention and management of obesity in youth. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the associations between obesity measures and several lifestyle factors, including physical activity, sedentary behaviors and dietary habits among Saudi adolescents aged 14–19 years.
Methods
This was a school-based cross-sectional study that was conducted in three cities in Saudi Arabia (Al-Khobar, Jeddah and Riyadh). The participants were 2906 secondary school males (1400) and females (1506) aged 14–19 years, who were randomly selected using a multistage stratified cluster sampling technique. Measurements included weight, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist/height ratio (WHtR), screen time (television viewing, video games and computer use), physical activity (determined using a validated questionnaire), and dietary habits (intake frequency per week). Logistic regression was used to examine the associations between obesity and lifestyle factors.
Results
Compared with non-obese, obese males and females were significantly less active, especially in terms of vigorous activity, had less favorable dietary habits (e.g., lower intake of breakfast, fruits and milk), but had lower intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and sweets/chocolates. Logistic regression analysis showed that overweight/obesity (based on BMI categories) or abdominal obesity (based on WHtR categories) were significantly and inversely associated with vigorous physical activity levels (aOR for high level = 0.69, 95% CI 0.41–0.92 for BMI and 0.63, 95% CI 0.45–0.89 for WHtR) and frequency of breakfast (aOR for < 3 days/week = 1.44; 95% CI 1.20–1.71 for BMI and 1.47; 95% CI 1.22–1.76 for WHtR) and vegetable (aOR for < 3 days/week = 1.29; 95% CI 1.03–1.59 for WHtR) intakes, and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (aOR for < 3 days/week = 1.32; 95% CI 1.08–1.62 for BMI and 1.42; 95% CI 1.16–1.75 for WHtR).
Conclusions
The present study identified several lifestyle factors associated with obesity that may represent valid targets for the prevention and management of obesity among Saudi adolescents. Primary prevention of obesity by promoting active lifestyles and healthy diets should be a national public health priority.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-354
PMCID: PMC3433359  PMID: 22591544
Adolescents; Dietary habits; Lifestyle; Overweight; Obesity; Physical activity; Saudi Arabia; Sedentary behaviors
5.  Physical activity, sedentary behaviors and dietary habits among Saudi adolescents relative to age, gender and region 
Background
Few lifestyle factors have been simultaneously studied and reported for Saudi adolescents. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to report on the prevalence of physical activity, sedentary behaviors and dietary habits among Saudi adolescents and to examine the interrelationships among these factors using representative samples drawn from three major cities in Saudi Arabia.
Methods
This school-based cross-sectional study was conducted during the years 2009-2010 in three cities: Al-Khobar, Jeddah and Riyadh. The participants were 2908 secondary-school males (1401) and females (1507) aged 14-19 years, randomly selected using a multistage stratified sampling technique. Measurements included weight, height, sedentary behaviors (TV viewing, playing video games and computer use), physical activity using a validated questionnaire and dietary habits.
Results
A very high proportion (84% for males and 91.2% for females) of Saudi adolescents spent more than 2 hours on screen time daily and almost half of the males and three-quarters of the females did not meet daily physical activity guidelines. The majority of adolescents did not have a daily intake of breakfast, fruit, vegetables and milk. Females were significantly (p < 0.05) more sedentary, much less physically active, especially with vigorous physical activity, and there were fewer days per week when they consumed breakfast, fruit, milk and diary products, sugar-sweetened drinks, fast foods and energy drinks than did males. However, the females' intake of French fries and potato chips, cakes and donuts, and candy and chocolate was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than the males'. Screen time was significantly (p < 0.05) correlated inversely with the intake of breakfast, vegetables and fruit. Physical activity had a significant (p < 0.05) positive relationship with fruit and vegetable intake but not with sedentary behaviors.
Conclusions
The high prevalence of sedentary behaviors, physical inactivity and unhealthy dietary habits among Saudi adolescents is a major public health concern. There is an urgent need for national policy promoting active living and healthy eating and reducing sedentary behaviors among children and adolescents in Saudi Arabia.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-140
PMCID: PMC3339333  PMID: 22188825
Physical activity; sedentary behaviors; dietary habits; lifestyle factors; adolescents; Saudi Arabia
6.  Was there a change in the body mass index of Saudi adolescent girls in Al-Khobar between 1997 and 2007? 
Background and Objectives:
Special concern is focused on the nutritional status of adolescent girls in order to avoid future health problems. The aim of this study was to determine the change in body mass index (BMI) among adolescent Saudi girls living in Al-Khobar between 1997 and 2007.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional sample of adolescent Saudi girls, 15–19-years-old, living in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, was analyzed through two data sets. The first data set (n = 400) was collected in 1997 and the second (n = 321) was collected in 2007. Both data sets used the same sampling method. Anthropometric measurements were made and the BMI was used to determine participants’ nutritional status. Statistical analysis was performed.
Results:
There was an increase in the median weight of Saudi adolescent girls from 1997 to 2007, but the change was not statistically significant. There was a statistically significant change, however, in adolescent girls’ height during the 10-year interval. Using BMI to determine the nutritional status of the sample, no statistically significant difference was found. Overweight and obesity remain prevalent in about 30% of the adolescent girls, and about 3.5% of the girls in both sets were underweight.
Conclusions:
This study concluded that there was no change in BMI among Saudi adolescent girls living in Al-Khobar during the 10-year span. Underweight is of low prevalence, and overweight and obesity are the critical nutritional problems that are faced by this population. Further research using time span comparisons is important to assess changes in maladaptive overweight and obesity.
doi:10.4103/2230-8229.83367
PMCID: PMC3159227  PMID: 21897910
Adolescent girls; body mass index; obesity; overweight; Saudi Arabia
7.  Pharmacists’ attitudes and awareness towards the use and safety of herbs in Kuwait 
Pharmacy Practice  2007;5(3):125-129.
Objectives
The purpose of this study was to investigate the knowledge and attitudes among pharmacists in Kuwait towards the use of herbs.
Methods
Self-administered questionnaire was designed as the study instrument and distributed among 100 qualified pharmacists working in government and private pharmacies in Kuwait.
Results
The mean age was 34.2 (SD=7.5) years. About 51% of pharmacists reported they had used herbal therapy in their lifetime. The majority were interested in herbal information, and their herbal information came mainly from their previous classes during college. Although the pharmacists’ knowledge about uses of selected herbs was good, their awareness about side effects of those herbs was modest. About 31% of the pharmacists did not have enough information about potential interactions between herbs and conventional medicines.
Conclusion
Herbal information is needed for pharmacy students as part of the Pharmacy College curriculum. Continuing education programs for practising pharmacists about the safety of different herbal products should be established in Kuwait.
PMCID: PMC4154746  PMID: 25214928
Herbal Medicine; Pharmacy Continuing Education; Pharmacy Graduate Education; Attitude of Health Personnel; Kuwait
8.  DIABETES KNOWLEDGE AMONG SELF REPORTED DIABETIC FEMALE TEACHERS: AL-KHOBAR, SAUDI ARABIA 
Objective:
The objective of this study was to determine the general knowledge of diabetes among female diabetic school teachers in Al-Khobar, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
Methods:
A total of 91 female diabetic school teachers were interviewed in the School Health Clinic in Al-Khobar using a structured questionnaire. Their weight and height were measured and BMI was calculated.
Results:
The results showed that understanding of diabetes was inadequate. Knowledge about symptoms of hypoglycemia was low. One-fourth (25%) of the sample of this study was using certain herbs for the treatment or management of diabetes mellitus. About three- fourths were overweight and obese. The results showed a deficiency of knowledge on the general aspects of diabetes mellitus. An appropriate educational material was prepared in the form leaflets, lectures and workshops.
Conclusion:
This paper concludes that awareness and education about diabetes are needed urgently among the studied sample.
PMCID: PMC3410136  PMID: 23012071
Diabetes Mellitus; School teachers; knowledge; herbs

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