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Prevalence of overweight and obesity among Bahraini adolescents: a comparison between three different sets of criteria


Objective: The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Bahraini adolescents using three different sets of criteria/standards.

Design: Cross-sectional prevalence study.

Setting: Intermediate and secondary schools in Bahrain.

Subjects: The study included a population-representative sample of 506 Bahraini students (249 males and 257 females) between 12 and 17 y of age. The sample was selected using multistage stratified random sampling technique.

Measurment: Anthropometric measurements including weight, height and triceps and subscapular skinfolds were taken on the adolescents. Age was verified against school records. To minimize inter-observer error, weight and height were taken by one person while skinfold was taken by two trained persons (one for each sex).

Results: The overall prevalence of obesity among Bahraini boys and girls was high, especially in girls. Obesity was highest (21% in males and 35% in females) when the WHO recommended criteria of BMI for age and skinfolds for age percentiles were applied and lowest (15% in boys and 18% in girls) when the age and sex specific BMI cut-off values of Cole et al were used. Compared with those of WHO criteria, estimates of overweight and obesity prevalence obtained with Must et al and Cole et al were generally close.

Conclusions: Our data revealed a much higher prevalence rate of obesity in the Bahraini adolescent population than was previously reported, especially among girls. The BMI reference values of Must et al and that of Cole et al gave relatively similar estimates and appear to be more practical for use in surveys aimed at estimating the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents than the WHO recommended composite criteria.

Sponsorship: Ministry of Health, Bahrain.

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Guarantor: AM Al-Sendi

Contributors: AM Al-Sendi, P Shetty, AO Musiager

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Correspondence to A O Musaiger.

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College of Health Science, Ministry of Health, Bahrain

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Al-Sendi, A., Shetty, P. & Musaiger, A. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among Bahraini adolescents: a comparison between three different sets of criteria. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 471–474 (2003).

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  • body mass index
  • adolescents
  • overweight
  • obesity

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