Students presenting their research projects.
DOHA: A recent study by a group of Qatar University students has revealed new data on the alarmingly high prevalence of obesity among Qatari adolescents.
The large cross-sectional study involving a total of 1,167 female and male students (14-20 years) from 23 independent schools showed that 59.9 percent of Qatari adolescents were obese and 57 percent overweight against 40.1 percent and 43 percent of non-Qataris.
The study by Lyan Akhal and Haya Al Ali also showed that the waist — hip ratio, a well-known risk factor for non-communicable diseases, was significantly higher among girls than boys.
Three student groups from the Human Nutrition Program at QU collaborated with the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) on a series of related studies.
Sarab AlAzzawy, Ahlam
Al Sadi and Saadah Majid studied the physical activity, sedentary behaviours and eating habits among those adolescents, showing the associations with Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference.
The results showed that sedentary behaviour was relatively high whereas the level of physical activity was extremely low. Moreover, the combination of sedentary behaviour and the consumption of foods high in fat and sugar had a great impact on the sample group’s body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.
Sarah Al Adgham, Aisha Saleh and Wafa Al Sadi studied the effect of gender and nationality on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and dietary habits among adolescents in Qatar.
Results showed that staircase use, walking and household activities were the most common activities. Watching TV — a common sedentary behaviour — was very common among Qatari adolescents compared to non-Qataris. Consumption of fruit, vegetable and milk was higher among non-Qatari males compared to the rest of the sample. Sarah said that during the research, she and her colleagues acquired communication skills necessary for every nutritionist.