This study aimed to investigate the lifestyle habits—physical activity (PA), eating habits (EH), and sleep duration (SD)—of Omani adolescents, and to examine gender differences in such variables.
802 Omani adolescents (442 females and 360 males), aged 15–18 years were randomly recruited. Anthropometric indices, PA level, and EH and SD were evaluated by the Arab Teenage Lifestyle questionnaire. A semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire for dietary assessment was also administered.
The results showed that although the study subjects had a sedentary lifestyle (lack of PA, average of 6.7 hours sleep, and consumption of high calorie foods), they maintained a normal body mass (less than 25 Kg/m2). Males were more than twice as active as females. With respect to EH, there were few gender differences, except in dairy and meat consumption where 62.5% and 55.5% of males consumed more than 3 servings, respectively, compared to 18.78 % and 35.2% of females, respectively. In addition, waist/height ratio, height, reasons for being active, energy drinks, potato consumption, eating sweets, vigorous PA and breakfast EHs were statistically significant independent predictors for BMI, P <0.05 for both males and females.
This study revealed a high prevalence of sedentary behaviors and a low level of physical activity, especially among females. Unhealthy dietary habits were also widely found among both genders. There is an urgent need for more research as well as a national policy promoting active living and healthy eating and discouraging sedentary behaviour among Omani adolescents.