Physical activity, sedentary behaviours and dietary habits among Kuwaiti adolescents: gender differences

Ahmad Allafi, Ahmad R Al-Haifi, Mohammad A Al-Fayez, Buthaina I Al-Athari, Fahhad A Al-Ajmi, Hazzaa M Al-Hazzaa, Abdulrahman O Musaiger, Faruk Ahmed
Public Health Nutrition 2014, 17 (9): 2045-52

OBJECTIVE: The present study was designed to assess physical activity, sedentary behaviours and dietary habits among adolescents in Kuwait and to compare the differences between genders.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study was conducted among secondary-school children who participated in the Arab Teens Lifestyle Study (ATLS), a multi-centre collaborative project.

SETTING: Secondary schools in Kuwait.

SUBJECTS: Adolescents (463 boys and 443 girls), aged 14-19 years.

RESULTS: Nearly half (44·6 %) of the boys and three-quarters (76·0 %) of the girls did not meet the recommended daily physical activity levels (≥2520 MET-min/week, moderate to vigorous intensity). Nearly all (96·3 % of boys and 96·7 % of girls) adolescents reported spending >2 h/d on screen time, with girls found to spend more time per day watching television (P = 0·02) and using a computer (P < 0·001). The large majority of the adolescents reported skipping breakfast and not having milk and milk products, vegetables and fruit daily, while nearly two-thirds of the boys and girls had sugar-sweetened drinks on more than 3 d/week. Compared with girls, boys reported consuming more fruit (3·4 v. 2·8 times/week, P = 0·001), dairy products (4·5 v. 3·6 times/week, P = 0·001) and energy drinks (1·3 v. 1·1 times/week, P = 0·003).

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of the Kuwaiti adolescents, especially girls, do not perform adequate physical activity, spend more time on sedentary activities and have unhealthy dietary practices. The findings emphasize an urgent need for implementing an appropriate intervention for promoting physical activity, healthy eating and reducing sedentary behaviours among these children.

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