Prevalence and determinants of obesity and physical inactivity among female university students in South Western Saudi Arabia

Atika Khalaf, Örjan Ekblom, Vanja Berggren, Albert Westergren, H. Al-Hazzaa

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Rationale: The prevalence of obesity in Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a growing challenge to public health, it may affect and be related to the levels of physical activity. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of overweight and obesity, physical activity, and unhealthy food intake among female university students in Saudi Arabia. In addition, determinants for levels of physical activity and unhealthy food intake were examined.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 663 female students in a university centre in KSA. Measures included anthropometric, socioeconomic, environmental, cultural, and life style factors such as physical activities, sedentary activities and eating habits. Logistic regressions were used to identify predictors of physical activity and unhealthy food intake respectively.

Results: The prevalence of overweight was 19% and obesity 6%. Physically active females were 41%, as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations for moderate physical activity (Haskell et al. 2007). Concerning vigorous physical activity, only 17%, of the subjects met the current recommendations. According to WHO’s recommendations for physical activity levels 55% were minimally active and 12% active. Significant predictors for moderate/vigorous physical activity were found to be proximity to parks, mothers’ education (positive relation), lack of knowledge, and number of brothers (negative relation). It also emerged that 88% of the participants had unhealthy food intake with the fathers’ level of education as the only significant predictor.

Conclusion: A minority of the subjects met with current recommendations for physical activity. Intervention studies and implementation of national nutritional guidelines are needed and should be integrated in the education of the adolescents and young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event33rd ESPEN Congress, Gothenburg, Sweden -
Duration: 1980-Jan-01 → …


Conference33rd ESPEN Congress, Gothenburg, Sweden
Period80-01-01 → …

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Medical and Health Sciences (3)


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence and determinants of obesity and physical inactivity among female university students in South Western Saudi Arabia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this