Abstract P384: Overweight, Obesity and its Correlates among Adolescents: a Comparison of Eleven Countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
Background: Overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, and sedentary behavior are important risk factors for chronic diseases; however, for the youth in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), comparable prevalence data are lacking.
Methods: We used data from nationally representative samples of 34,410 13-15 year old schoolchildren who participated in the Global School-based Student Health Survey (Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen). Data on height, weight, physical activity levels, and sedentary behavior were collected from 2005-2009 in these eleven EMR countries and sex- and country-specific prevalence rates were calculated.
Results: The prevalence of overweight and obese youth ranged from 6.5% in Pakistan (boys: 5.1%, girls: 8.7%) to 37.6% in the United Arab Emirates (boys: 39.2%, girls: 36.1%), whereas underweight was highest in Yemen (20.8%; boys: 25.4%, girls: 13.0%) and lowest in Egypt (4.0%; boys: 4.7%, girls: 3.2%). Six of the eleven countries had an overweight and obese rate higher than 20%. The combined risk factors of overweight, insufficient amount of physical activity (< 5 days of at least 60 minutes per week), and sedentary behavior (≥ 3 hours of sitting activities per day) ranged from 0.5% in Pakistan to 12.3% in the United Arab Emirates.
Conclusion: These data suggest that prevalence of overweight schoolchildren is high in EMR countries. In addition, physical activity levels were below recommendation guidelines in most of the surveyed countries. Efforts to prevent these unfortunate trends should be taken on regional and national levels.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.