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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012, Article ID 981390, 5 pages
Research Article

Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity among Adolescents in Seven Arab Countries: A Cross-Cultural Study

1Nutrition and Health Studies Unit, Deanship of Scientific Research, University of Bahrain and Arab Centre for Nutrition, P.O. Box 26923, Bahrain
2Department of Mathematics, College of Science, Univesity of Bahrain, Bahrain
3Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Allied Health Science, The Hashemite University, Zarqa 13115, Jordan
4Department of Nutrition and Health, Ministry of Education, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
5Elia Nutrition and Health Centre, P.O. Box 19648, Khaitan, Kuwait, Kuwait
6Dietetic Clinic, P.O. Box 12011, Damascus, Syria
7Department of Food Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya
8Faculty of Agriculture, Hebron University, P.O. Box 40, Hebron, Palestine
9Nutrition Department, Makassed Hospital, Jerusalem, Palestine
10NutriDar, Ammara, Cherage 16002, Algiers, Algeria

Received 29 March 2012; Revised 1 August 2012; Accepted 1 August 2012

Academic Editor: Angelo Pietrobelli

Copyright © 2012 Abdulrahman O. Musaiger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The aim of this study was to find out the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents in seven Arab countries using similar reference standard. Methods. A school-based cross-sectional study was carried out in seven cities in Arab countries, namely, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and United Arab Emirates. A multistage stratified random sampling technique was used. The total sample included was 4698 adolescents aged from 15 to 18 years (2240 males, 2458 females). The International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) reference standard was used to classify the adolescents as nonobese, overweight, and obese. Results. Among males, overweight was highest among Kuwaiti adolescents (25.6%), followed by Jordanian (21.6%), and Syrian (19.7%) adolescents. Among females, the highest prevalence of overweight was reported in Libyan adolescents (26.6%), followed by Kuwaiti (20.8%), and Syrian (19.7%) adolescents. As for obesity, Kuwaiti adolescents showed the highest prevalence of obesity for both males (34.8%) and females (20.6%). Conclusion. There is an urgent need to establish a plan of action to combat obesity in schoolchildren in these countries.