Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents in eight Arab countries: comparison between two international standards (ARABEAT-2)

Abdulrahman O Musaiger, Mariam Al-Mannai, Ahmad R. Al-Haifi, Fatima Nabag, Jalila Elati, Nada Abahussain, Reema Tayyem, Marwan Jalambo, Mofida Benhamad, Berivan Al-Mufty


Objective: The aim of this study was to highlight the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents in eight Arab countries.

Methods: A school-based cross-sectional study was conducted in eight Arab countries: Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia. The total sample included was 6,447 adolescents aged 15-18 years (3,111 males, 3,336 females). The International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and World Health Organization (WHO) reference standards were used to determine obesity levels.

Results: The WHO standard provided lower prevalence of overweight but higher prevalence of obesity than the IOTF standard. According to the IOTF standard, overweight among males was highest in Kuwaiti adolescents (24.8%), followed by Saudi Arabian (23.2%). Among females, the highest prevalence was reported in Kuwaiti adolescents (22.1%), followed by Jordanian (20.0%). Regarding obesity, Kuwaiti adolescents showed the highest prevalence of obesity for both males (28.6%) and females (21.1%).

Conclusion: Findings revealed no progress in reducing prevalence of obesity.

Palabras clave

Arab countries. Adolescents. Overweight. Obesity.

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