Body Mass Index: A Comparison of Male Saudi Students to Americans of the Same Age
Advances in Physical Education
Recently obesity has become an epidemic health problem, not only in western countries but also in developing countries. We aim to provide contemporary estimates of the prevalence of obesity in Saudi male university students 18 -20 years of age. We then compare these estimates to the most recently available estimates observed in American males of the same age. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we collected anthropometric and physical fitness data on 293 Prince Sultan University (Riyadh,
... versity (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) male students aged 18 to 20 years. Obesity was defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) above the 95th percentile of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts for those 18 to 19 years old and as a BMI greater than 30 for those 20 years old. Data on their American counterparts were obtained the national Health and Nutrition. Evaluation survey (NHANES). Results: The mean BMI for the Saudi students was 25.7 (SD = 5.99) and the mean Waist to Height ratio was 0.498 (SD = 0.07). The prevalence of Obesity in Saudi students was 24.2%, 95% CI = (19.3%, 29.0%) and was not significantly different from the proportion of obese among their American counterparts (estimated to be between 16.6% and 29.3%). Discussion: In terms of obesity, Saudi male students were comparable to American males of the same age. Knowing that America is one of the most obese countries in the world, these figures rises some serious concerns about the future health risks of these students and calls for appropriate prevention programs.