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An epidemiological investigation of health-related behaviours among male high school adolescents in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Objective: Little is known about health-related behaviours and their co-occurrence among male adolescents in Saudi Arabia. The main purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of health related behaviours, and to investigate the associations between socio-demographic variables and health related behaviours and the clustering of health risk behaviours. Research Methods: A cross-sectional study using a self-completion anonymous questionnaire was undertaken between February and April, 2008. A stratified random sample of 1501 male adolescents was recruited from one private and public high school in each of the five districts in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Main Outcome Measures: Prevalence and associations between health, social and demographic factors and health-related behaviours, including dietary behaviours, oral health, physical activity, smoking, violence, injuries and safety, and mental health factors. Results: The results of this study showed that only 24.2% and 39.9% of the students consumed fruit and vegetables on a daily basis (at least once every day), and only 7% and 13.7% ate fruit and vegetables 3 times or more every day. Also, only 52.4% consumed dairy products at least once every day and only 18.3% of the students consumed dairy products 3 times or more every day. 48.1% reported to not consume any fish products on any day of the week. About 48.7%, 60.2% and 25.2% of the students consumed sweets, soft drinks, and energy drinks at least once every day. The results of this study also showed that only 36.7% of students eat breakfast regularly (≥ 5 days per week). Eating breakfast regularly was positively associated with lower age, liking school, good academic performance, not eating high fat food every day, drinking soft drinks ≤ 1 time/day, drinking milk every day, low BMI, brushing teeth every day, physical activity ≥ 3 days/week, and not engaging in physical fights. Around half (51.3%) participants reported good teeth health status, 22.6% brushed their teeth two times daily, 29.7% brushed their teeth once daily, whereas 47.7% of the subjects do not brush their teeth daily and 54.3% never visited the dentist during the past year. About 29.5% of participants suffered teeth pain sometimes or most of the time and 16.4% missed some school days for this reason. Brushing teeth every day was positively associated with higher standards of parental education, attending private school, living district, good academic performance, liking school, visiting dentist during the last year, good teeth status, and not suffering from teeth pain. Only 18.4% of the students were physically active and only 65.2% participated in physical activity classes in schools. Regular physical activity was positively associated with younger age, liking school, good health status, lower BMI, father’s, mother’s, siblings’ and peers’ physical activity, not smoking, not fighting, not wanting to use drugs or alcohol, and not feeling lonely. Over a third (36.3%) of the participants were overweight or obese. A fifth (20.8%) of the adolescents were current smokers. 20.8% of the students were current smokers. Smoking among students was positively associated with higher age, studying in private school, poor health status, poor school performance, not liking school, father smoking, mother smoking, sibling smoking, peers smoking, low physical activity, wanting to use drugs and alcohol, carrying weapons, fighting, performing car drifting, and being abused by teachers. ii Over half the sample (55.5%) reported an injury, 21.8% had been threatened or injured by weapons. Just under half (49%) of the adolescents reported they were involved in a physical fight. Moreover, fighting among students was positively associated with the interaction of low parental education, not liking school, poor academic performance, skipping breakfast, low physical activity, current smoking, being threatened or injured by weapons, carrying weapons, joining people performing car drifting, bullying others, being abused by teachers. Carrying weapons during the last 30 days was reported by 36.6% of the sample. Carrying weapons was positively associated with higher age, not liking school, poor academic performance, current smoking, fighting, being threatened or injured by weapons, performing car drifting, joining people performing car drifting, taking part in bullying others, and being abused by family. Some (26.1%) of participants reported having been bullied and 24.6% of the students reported bullying others. Many of the adolescents reported being abused by a family member (34.4%) or one of their school teachers (39.5%) during the past 12 months preceding the survey. During this time period, many of the students reported feeling lonely (22.8%), feeling very worried about something that they could not sleep at night sometimes or more (27.0%), and feeling very sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more (40%). About 14% of the participants in this study reported that they had wanted to use alcohol or drugs. A small but notable proportion (13.9%) of the participants reported that they had thought of attempting suicide and 6.9% had actually attempted suicide. Over a third (36.1%) of adolescents had performed car drifting 12 months preceding the survey. However, car drifting was positively associated with higher age, attending a private school, not liking school, poor academic performance, not brushing teeth every day, current smoking, wanting to use drugs and alcohol, carrying weapons, joining people who performing car drifting, bullying others, and attempting suicide. The majority (78.7%) of participants drove vehicles and 96% and 97.7% reported that they did not use a seat belt when doing so and did not use a seat belt when riding in a car as a passenger, respectively. Only 2.1% and 1.4% of participants wore a helmet when used motorized vehicle or nonmotorized. Conclusions and implications: The results of this study reveal that the adolescents engage in multiple health-risk behaviours, and these risk behaviours are relatively common among adolescents and cluster together. Health related behaviours are associated with several socio-demographic variables (age, father’s and mother’s education, school factors, health status and living districts), although not necessarily in the same order. However, the data emphasized the need for further quantitative and indepth qualitative research throughout Saudi Arabia, including other cities, rural communities, female adolescents, and other Middle Eastern countries. Cross-sectional research to gather evidence on youth health to collect population-based data on a range of health-related behaviours along with physical and social environments amongst school-age students and out-of-school youth facilities are important and highly needed to investigate health-related behaviours and associated risk factors and to measure change over time.
Date January 2010
CreatorsAlsubaie, Ali S. R.
PublisherUniversity of Newcastle upon Tyne
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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