Author(s): AlBaghli NA
OBJECTIVES To describe anthropometric characteristics of participants and the influence of sociodemographic and cardiovascular risk factors involved in the prevalence of obesity in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.
METHODS In the year 2004, all Saudi residents in the Eastern province aged 30 years and above, were invited to participate in a community screening campaign for early detection of diabetes and hypertension. Demographic data, medical history, life habits, weight, height, blood pressure, and glucose concentration were recorded using a structured questionnaire. Obesity and overweight were defined by body mass index (BMI) >or=30 kg/m2 and 25-29.9 kg/m2, respectively. Logistic regression was used to predict the association of the significant factors with the prevalence of obesity.
RESULTS Out of 195,874 participants, the overall prevalence of obesity was 43.8%, while 35.1% were overweight. The prevalence of underweight was 1.3%. The peak prevalence of obesity was observed in the age group 50-59 years. Obesity was higher among women than men, higher in housewives, and among the less educated than others (p<0.0001). Linear regression analysis showed a strong proportional association of BMI with diabetes, hypertension, triglycerides and cholesterol, and an inverse proportional association with physical activity and smoking
CONCLUSIONS Obesity and overweight constitute an important health problem affecting a high proportion of Saudi population. Addressing associated factors, and enhancing public health education is an important aim to focus on for weight control.