Overweight and obesity in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Med J. 2008 Sep;29(9):1319-25.


Objective: 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

Conclusion: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology