Essay: Obesity Among Adolescent Girls in Saudi Arabia

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Obesity in Adolescent Females in Saudi Arabia

This paper examines the causes of obesity among the adolescent girls in Saudi Arabia. It endeavors to unravel the pre-exposing factors and the other related conditions that come along with development of obesity, e.g. High blood pressure, strokes, diabetes type II and coronary artery. In this study 1486 adolescent ladies were randomly sampled and interviewed on what their diets is, whether or not they engage in physical exercises, their family income and the history of obesity in their families. Body Mass Index (BMI) was also taken. All this were to expose possible areas of obesity causes. It came to be established that about 95% of obesity causes is the lifestyle regarding consumption of snack and products that contains more fats and energy (Khalid, 2008). This is also aggravated by the fact that most of these adolescent do not exercise.


In the recent past, obesity has become one of the most fast spreading conditions surpassing that of HIV / AIDS. This is even worse in the western countries where for example in Canada, 40 to 60% of the population is obese while in the United States over 65% are obese (Al-Rukban, 2003). The situation is not different in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia for instance about 3 million of the population is obese and this population constitutes 20% of the total population. As a consequence the government spends colossal amount of the national's resources to mitigate the disturbing impacts of the menace. Further, the statistics from the ministry of health in Saudi Arabia adduce that more women are obese compared to men i.e. The ratio of women suffering from obese to men is 2:1 (Keleher & MacDougall, 2009). Obesity for a long time has been believed to be caused by eating much than the body requires, this is not contradicted but must be reinforced that other factors are also responsible for the same. Genetics factors are one the other factors thus it can be construed that it is hereditary. On the same breadth, inadequate exercise is also known to be a causative agent since the fats will be deposited under the body tissues as opposed to exercise where the excess fats are disintegrated to produce energy. Scientifically, obesity is defined as the situation where the body consumes more calories than it can actually burn. The world health organization also defines obesity as the consumption of excessive fats/oil that causes harm to an individual's health (WHO Organisation, 2006).Obesity has been known to instigate other medical conditions or otherwise aggravate the individual's health in many ways. High blood pressure, Diabetes, strokes and coronary arteries are some of the notably conditions associated with obesity (Seidell, 2000).

Narrative Literature review

Obesity as a condition is a leading world health threat at the moment. It is not only experienced in Saudi Arabia or in the gulf region but also manifests a wide prevalence rate in equal measure in the western countries as well as Africa and Asia. It is also important that at this stage we distinguish between prevalence and the incidence of a condition. Prevalence refers to the rate of spread of a condition over a given period of time while incidence is the snapshot number of a condition as at a given time. In relation to obesity, the prevalence has been worrying as it surpasses most of the conditions known at the moment (Keleher & MacDougall, 2009). In America obesity is degenerating to the status of epidemic which is the sudden rise in the number of casualties in a given case of a disease in an area at a specific time. The cases of obesity is so rampant that in adults the ratio is that for every three adults two are affected and for every five children two are casualties (Al-Gelman, 2008). This is according to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) report in 2003 (WHO Organisation, 2006). In the report, CDC also appreciates that obesity has made America to spend about 75 billion Dollars annually to avert the obesity menace.

In respect to the above obesity is construed to be the situation when the body consumes more calories than it can actually burn for use in the body. Part of what contributes to obesity is the consumption of foods that are rich in sugars, fats and energies, genetic factors are also believed to be a partial cause of obesity as well as leading a sedentary life. Other complications are known to be opportunistic in cases of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type II, stokes and many more (Solenberger, 2001).

World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC projects that there will be approximately 2.5 billion cases of obesity if the case remain unchecked. This shows that a substantial proportion of the population will be in deed affected by the condition hence creation of defects in the productive nature of the demographic nature composition of the population worldwide (Osman & Al-Nozha, 2000). I t must be appreciated that the trend of the distribution of the obesity cases varies continentally from age to gender to racial nature of the world population. In United States, the obesity distribution is relatively even both for the males and the females, adults and the school children. In Africa, the trend takes a drastic turn, Most of the obesity cases are observed in adults female and mostly adolescents form rich families (Epstein & Cluss, 1986).In Saudi Arabia which is in the Middle East, the trend in the obesity takes another turn. First the prevalence of obesity is about 14% for the children of the age 6 years and below and projects to about 83% in the adult population (Qauhiz, 2010). It is also official that within the adult population, those of the females projects higher than that of the males. The trend is attributed to factors such as education, parity, socio-economic status, age and sex. It is therefore interesting to establish the cause of obesity in different population age groups in Saudi Arabia.

Pre- School children: These are the group constituting 6 years and below, the nexus between childhood and adulthood obesity is appreciated to be a possibility. The 14% composition gradually increases as one approaches adulthood the connection based on cultural factors, genetic and behavioral. The early intervention can be employed to curb the transition process to adulthood.

School Children and the adolescents: This forms the purpose of This paper and the targeted groups were interviewed and data collected from them. The mode of data collection was questionnaire, required body data were also taken such as the Body Mass Index (BMI). The essence of the BMI is to determine whether one is obese or not. BMI correlates the height of an individual to the body mass. This is because there is a standard range for the calculation of the two. The number realized can be used to decide whether one is underweight, normal or overweight or what is otherwise called obesity (Epstein & Cluss, 1986).For the study that was done, 11% were found to be underweight, 61 were of normal BMI and 28% were overweight or obese. It then led to the fact that of the adolescents in Saudi Arabia oscillates between two completely contrasting nutritional problems; overweight and underweight. The finding here indicates that there is poor nutritional values in Saudi Arabia and urgent intervention in terms of education to promote healthy nutrition is overdue.In another data collection the nutritional pattern and the health of the adolescents were collected in relation to body height, body weight and nature of the diet. In this data collected, 14.5% of the adolescent were underweight i.e. below 15th percentile, 16.5% were of obese i.e. over 85th percentiles; the remaining 69% were of normal mass i.e. between 15th-85th percentiles. The findings led to the conclusion that the Saudi Arabia adolescent have experienced a paradigm shift with regard to their eating habit emulating those of the western countries, thus rise in the diet- related complications in Saudi Arabia.The prevalence rate of obesity and overweight was also conducted, this was male dominated findings and those of ages 6-18 were engaged. Casualties of chronic or acute conditions were exempted from the study for the purposes of precision. The BMI expectation at the 50th percentile was calculated and the 50th percentile from the National Centre for Health Statistics / Center for Disease Control was used as the standard reference value for evaluation. Regarding this, obesity would be construed if the weight were more than 120% of the expected 50th percentile while that of overweight was construed to be between 110-120 of the 50th percentile. Overweight thus constituted 11.7% and that of obesity 15.8% in reference to the basis of calculations. This prompted agitation for opportune education regarding choice of diet to advance proper health, longevity and timely growth.The concern was that why are most casualties females? In Saudi Arabia females tend to develops obesity in a special way than males. This paper explains the reason with reference to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Obesity Among Adolescent Girls in Saudi Arabia.  (2011, September 30).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from

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"Obesity Among Adolescent Girls in Saudi Arabia."  30 September 2011.  Web.  19 May 2019. <>.

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"Obesity Among Adolescent Girls in Saudi Arabia."  September 30, 2011.  Accessed May 19, 2019.