Contributing Factors to Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Kuwait
Alrashidi, M; Shahwan-Akl; L; James, J; Jones, LK

The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is a major public health concern in Kuwait. Understanding the contributing factors is key to the development of an effective intervention strategy. This study was designed to identify what factors contribute to overweight and obesity in school-aged children. Method: A cross-sectional study, using questionnaires, was conducted with public intermediate school children (girls and boys) and their parents to elicit information related to the children’s daily lifestyle. A total of 635 children aged 11-14 years and their parents (N=635) were surveyed and children’s height and weight were measured by school nurses to identify their Body Mass Index. Results: When classified by BMI, about one quarter of the children (25.5%) were overweight and over one third (36.5%) were classified as obese. Multiple regression model found that the BMI of the male children increased significantly with respect to age if they had overweight siblings, spent time on sedentary activities, and regularly ate food from fast food restaurants. The BMI of the female children also increased significantly with respect to age, having overweight siblings, eating at fast food restaurants and for every time not actively travelling to school. Conclusion: The rate of childhood overweight and obesity in Kuwait is currently still high, and Kuwaiti children have been found to be leading unhealthy lifestyles. Involving parents as a part of the solution is an important step in promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v3n1a8