Factors related to obesity in preparatory and high schools in Dubai : a study of the prevalence, determination, consequences and the perception of obesity in adolescents in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The study was conducted in Dubai, one of the main Emirate states. It is a cross sectional descriptive study, conducted between January and April 2004. The sample size was 661(324 males and 337 females). These were all local national students from preparatory and secondary schools with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years. A multi-stage stratified, random sampling technique was used to obtain a representative sample of appropriate size for estimating the prevalence of obesity among adolescents. A short questionnaire was used to obtained information relating to factors which contributed to obesity. The results revealed that there was a high prevalence of obesity in males (22.2%) and females (20.2%). Boys and girls in early and middle adolescence (12-15years) were more obese than late adolescents (16-17 years). An increase in body mass index may lead to high blood pressure, high blood sugar level, high cholesterol and triglyceride level. The girls were shown to be more likely to follow a dietary programmes and watch television food advertisements. Television was shown to be the most effective way of transmitting health nutrition information inclusion in the school curriculum being the next most effective way. Boys participated in physical activity more than girls; reducing the likelihood of obesity. Boys were more likely to overestimate their current body shape than girls. It was concluded that since obesity cannot be prevented or managed at an individual level, governments, the food industry, international agencies, the media and community should all work together to modify the environment so that it is less conductive to weight gain.