JOURNAL ARTICLE

Poor diet quality and food habits are related to impaired nutritional status in 13- to 18-year-old adolescents in Jeddah

Sidiga A Washi, Maha B Ageib
Nutrition Research 2010, 30 (8): 527-34
20851306
In recent decades, diets have changed rapidly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) because the Western diet is replacing the traditional Arabic diet. This has resulted in an alarming increase in the number of overweight and obese children and adolescents in KSA. It is well documented that lifestyle is strongly associated with the development of obesity. Nevertheless, this remains to be demonstrated in adolescents from a rapidly developing country in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia. This study tested the hypothesis that the new current dietary habits are related to the increase in overweight and obese Saudi Arabian adolescents. In 2006, a cross-sectional study was conducted among 239 adolescents (13-18 years old) who were selected by cluster sampling from schools in Jeddah, KSA. The nutritional status was assessed by anthropometric and biochemical parameters at the Saudi German Hospitals Group, Jeddah. Dietary habits were evaluated by a 3-day dietary recall (food diary) and a food frequency questionnaire. The mean age of the participants was 15.5 ± 2.5 years. The mean body mass index was 27.43 ± 4.61 kg/m(2). A total of 44.6% of the adolescents were overweight, and 56.6%, 30.5%, and 13.0% of energy was derived from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, respectively. Compared with the Dietary Reference Intake, carbohydrate and fat intakes were higher, and calcium, iron, and zinc intakes were lower. Higher cholesterol and lower hemoglobin levels were found in 30.5% and 53.6% of the adolescents, respectively. In summary, increased weight status of 13- to 18-year-old Saudi adolescents was related to their inadequate dietary habits. This indicates the importance of rapidly promoting a healthier lifestyle among Saudi Arabian adolescents.

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