Objectives: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to assess the levels of overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti intermediate school adolescents aged 10-14 y. The study comprised a multistage stratified random sample of 14659 adolescents (7205 males and 7454 females), which constitutes approximately 17% of the target population of this school level.
Methods: Weights and heights of the adolescents were measured, from which the body mass index (BMI), which is the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared (kg/m2), was calculated. Overweight and obesity were defined as BMI >85th and >95th centiles, respectively, of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reference data.
Results: The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity among males were 30.0 and 14.7%, respectively (P<0.001). The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity among females were 31.8 and 13.1%, respectively (P<0.001 and P<0.01). There was no consistent rise or decline in overweight and obesity in both genders with respect to age. However, the overall prevalence of overweight was lower in males than in females but obesity was higher in males than in females.
Conclusion: When compared to the NCHS reference population, the BMI of Kuwaiti adolescents exceeded that of the Americans in each centile category > or = 50th centile. Health education programmes should be instituted to control this syndrome in order to prevent future risk of obesity-related diseases.
Copyright 2004 Nature Publishing Group