JOURNAL ARTICLE

Obesity, Dietary Habits, and Sedentary Behaviors Among Adolescents in Sudan: Alarming Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases in a Poor Country

Abdulrahman O Musaiger, Fatima O Nabag, Mariam Al-Mannai
Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2016, 37 (1): 65-72
26880662

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of obesity, dietary habits, and sedentary patterns among Sudanese adolescents.

METHODS: A multistage stratified sampling method was used to select 945 adolescents (507 males and 438 females) aged 14 to 18 years, from Khartoum State, Sudan. A self-reported pretested questionnaire was used to collect the data. Overweight and obesity were determined using the International Obesity Task Force standard, which is based on body mass index for sex and age.

RESULTS: Overweight and obesity were growing problems among urban Sudanese adolescents (10.7%). Breakfast was commonly consumed on a daily basis by the majority of adolescents (74.2%), followed by lunch (63.9%) and supper (33.5%). Snacking was not a common practice among these individuals. Vegetables (63.9%) were more frequently consumed (more than 3 days per week) than fruit (30.1%). There were significant differences between genders regarding intake of vegetables (P < .048), chicken (P < .013), dairy products, sweets, nuts, chocolate, and legumes (P < .001 for all). Sedentary behaviors (long duration of television viewing and Internet use) were highly prevalent, and physical activity was rarely practiced (6.8%).

CONCLUSION: The findings indicated that risk factors for diet-related chronic diseases such as unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary behaviors are starting to rise among urban adolescents in Sudan. This creates the need for immediate action to prevent and control these risk factors before these diseases become major public health problems.

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