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Obesity, Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Amongst British and Saudi Youth: A Cross-Cultural Study

Author(s): Yahya Al-Nakeeb | Mark Lyons | Peter Collins | Anwar Al-Nuaim | Hazzaa Al-Hazzaa | Michael J. Duncan | Alan Nevill

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ISSN 1660-4601

Volume: 9;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1490;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: obesity | physical activity | young people | lifestyle | environment

This study explores differences in weight status, obesity and patterns of physical activity (PA) in relation to gender and age of youth from two culturally, environmentally and geographically diverse countries, the United Kingdom (UK) and Saudi Arabia (SA). A total of 2,290 males and females (15–17 years) volunteered to participate in this study. Participants completed a validated self-report questionnaire that contained 47 items relating to patterns of PA, sedentary activity and eating habits. The questionnaire allows the calculation of total energy expenditure in metabolic equivalent (MET-min) values per week. Significant differences in percentage of overweight/obese and levels of PA were evident between the youth from the two countries, with males being generally more physically active than females. Additionally, there were significant associations between Body Mass Index (BMI), PA and sedentary behaviors; the youth with higher BMI reported lower levels of PA and higher amounts of sedentary time. These findings highlight the diverse nature of lifestyle of youth living in different geographical areas of the world and the need for further research to explore the socio-cultural factors that impact on the prevalence of obesity and patterns of PA of youth in different populations.

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