THE PREVALENCE RATE OF OBESITY IN PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN AND ASSOCIATED RISK FACTORS IN RIYADH, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
KHALED M. ALMUTAIRI
Health Administration Department, Riyadh College of Health SciencesKing Saud University, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia
Childhood obesity is increasing at a significant percentage that is responsible for different complications both during childhood and adulthood. The present study aimed to calculate the prevalence rate of overweight and obesity among school children aged (6-11) years and to study the prevalence of associated risk factors as dietary habits, life style and sociodemographic status. The study was conducted in four primary schools in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Two governmental schools (GS); one for boys and the other for girls. Two private language schools (PS); one boys and the other girls. 600 students were involved in this study, 300 students from GS and 300 students from PS. Interview questionnaire was used which involved questions. Height and weight were measured using fixed measuring stick and portable scale and BMI was calculated. The present study showed that 80.7% of children in both schools were within the normal weight, 7.8% were overweight, 6.3% were obese and 5.2% were underweight. 84.7% and 76.7% of children were normal in weight in GS and PS respectively. The percentage of underweight, overweight and obese children in PS were 7.3%, 9% and 7%, respectively, while in GS were 3%, 6.7% and 5.7% respectively. Girls were more overweight and obese than boys in both schools. The current study identified the risk factors for childhood overweight and obesity in primary school children. There was positive correlation between BMI and age. On the other hand, there were inversed correlations between BMI and number of meals / day and number of days of practicing sports / week. A relation was found between increasing BMI and eating certain types of food. There was no association between BMI and eating snacks, vegetables and fruits among children in both schools. There was a positive significant correlation between BMI and drinking soft drinks only among children at PS. While no significant association was present between BMI and eating rate, well chewing of food and eating in front of TV. The present study showed that father occupation and eating dinner before sleeping were the most important independent predictors for childhood overweight and obesity. Moreover, having breakfast everyday was found to be a protective factor from childhood overweight and obesity.