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Minerva Pediatrica 2019 August;71(4):326-32

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.04911-3


language: English

Prevalence of overweight and obesity and associations with socioeconomic indicators: the study of health and activity among adolescents in Kuwait

Juan P. REY-LOPEZ 1 , Rawan HASHEM 2, Mark HAMER 2, 3, Anne MCMUNN 2, Peter H. WHINCUP 4, Christopher G. OWEN 4, Emmanuel STAMATAKIS 1, 2

1 Charles Perkins Center, Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 2 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK; 3 School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK; 4 Population Health Research Institute, St George’s University of London, London, UK

BACKGROUND: Kuwait is one of the Arab countries with the highest prevalence of overweight or obesity. However, few studies have described the prevalence of obesity in this country. The aim of this study is to describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti adolescents; and to examine the association of overweight and obesity status with familial socioeconomic status (SES).
METHODS: Cross-sectional data from 591 adolescent students (47% boys, median age: 16 years) from the Study of Health and Activity among Adolescents in Kuwait in 2012 and 2013. Body weight status was determined using the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) body mass index standards. SES was based on parental education. Odds ratio for overweight and obesity were calculated using multiple logistic regression.
RESULTS: In our study, over half of the adolescents were overweight or obese 54.3% (95% CI: 49.9-58.4). The prevalence of overweight (including obesity) was higher in boys (59.8%, 95% CI: 54.3-66.3) than girls (49.2%, 95% CI: 43.5-54.8). No association between parental education and the risk of overweight/obesity was found.
CONCLUSIONS: There is an alarmingly high rate of overweight/obesity among Kuwaiti adolescents, but we did not find evidence of a social gradient in obesity risk. Urgent actions are needed to reverse this epidemic across all social groups.

KEY WORDS: Social class; Overweight; Pediatric obesity; Adolescents; Middle East

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