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1.  Physical Activity and Health Beliefs among Saudi Women 
Background. Physical activity (PA) is associated with health benefits and disease prevention and is often prescribed in managing many health conditions. Understanding the cultural influences is relevant in order to effectively promote PA. The objective of this study was to assess the level of PA among Saudi women, measured by daily step count, and the association between PA and health beliefs. Methods. A total of 161 eligible participants were asked to complete two questionnaires to assess health beliefs: Health Locus of Control (HLC) and Self-Efficacy Assessment Scale. Each participant was given a pedometer and a diary to record their daily PA for two weeks. Results. One hundred and five participants completed the two weeks pedometer data (mean age 26.3 ± 7.1 years, BMI 25 ± 4.2 kg/m2). The average pedometer score over two weeks was 5114 ± 2213 steps. Step count had strong correlation with self-efficacy (rs = 0.75), mild correlation with internal HLC (rs = 0.42), and mild negative correlation with external HLC (rs = −0.35). Conclusion. The study demonstrates high level of inactivity among Saudi females in reference to the international recommendation for minimum activity. The data also reveal an association between PA and health beliefs. Ultimately, such information can be used to design gender- and culture-sensitive interventions that could enhance adherence to PA.
doi:10.1155/2012/642187
PMCID: PMC3317126  PMID: 22523673
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.  Convergent Validity of the Arab Teens Lifestyle Study (ATLS) Physical Activity Questionnaire 
The Arab Teens Lifestyle Study (ATLS) is a multicenter project for assessing the lifestyle habits of Arab adolescents. This study reports on the convergent validity of the physical activity questionnaire used in ATLS against an electronic pedometer. Participants were 39 males and 36 females randomly selected from secondary schools, with a mean age of 16.1 ± 1.1 years. ATLS self-reported questionnaire was validated against the electronic pedometer for three consecutive weekdays. Mean steps counts were 6,866 ± 3,854 steps/day with no significant gender difference observed. Questionnaire results showed no significant gender differences in time spent on total or moderate-intensity activities. However, males spent significantly more time than females on vigorous-intensity activity. The correlation of steps counts with total time spent on all activities by the questionnaire was 0.369. Relationship of steps counts was higher with vigorous-intensity (r = 0.338) than with moderate-intensity activity (r = 0.265). Pedometer steps counts showed higher correlations with time spent on walking (r = 0.350) and jogging (r = 0.383) than with the time spent on other activities. Active participants, based on pedometer assessment, were also most active by the questionnaire. It appears that ATLS questionnaire is a valid instrument for assessing habitual physical activity among Arab adolescents.
doi:10.3390/ijerph8093810
PMCID: PMC3194119  PMID: 22016718
Arab Teens Lifestyle Study; validity; questionnaire; pedometer

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