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.
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.
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.