Gender Inequality in Sports Has Led to Obesity Among Adolescent Girls in Saudi Arabia essay

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Gender Inequity in Sports Has Led to Obesity Among Adolescent Girls in Saudi Arabia

Gender Inequality in sports has led to Obesity among Adolescent Girls in Saudi Arabia

Obesity is one of the most rapidly escalating phenomena in the entire world. It is influencing the lifestyle and lifestyle choices of both adults and teenagers specifically young females across all ethnicities and races as well as social statures (World Health Organization [WHO], 2006). Obese individuals are mostly the ones who are anticipated to have shorter life spans than usual primarily because of the offset health and dietary structure that they sustain (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP], 2003). Even though, a large extent of research has focused on and been devoted to obesity as it relates to young females, there have nevertheless been limited efforts made from the domain of teenage girls in Saudi Arabia and in helping them overcome their obesity problems as well as sustain a healthy lifestyle through engaging in sports activities through their academic years. This paper will hence conduct a risk assessment of teenage girls in Saudi Arabia suffering from issues of obesity across generations and assessments will be done on the patterns of nutrition and sports activities in order to break the habit of unhealthy lifestyle choices (Yujin & Dong Sik, 2007). The proposed study has been tailored to support proper nutrition and exercise in the chosen gender with the ultimate goal of preventing obesity reversions.


The current generation, more than before is tackling the dangers of obesity. It is a fact that there are many parts of the world, especially in the African and Asian countries where people literally die of starvation, malnutrition and under-weight issues, yet it is a fact as well that the world is growing more and more obese currently than it has been at any other time in history.

Putting it simply, obesity can be described as the excessive accumulation of fats in the body. These are fats that the body does not need or cannot digest and utilize in fulfillment of physical activities. From a medical perspective, when the body mass index (BMI) goes beyond the limit 30 from where it should be, only then is one considered obese. The BMI is calculated by dividing the weight of an individual by the Square of the Height in Meters (WHO, 2011).

There are two major causes of obesity; the ingestion of fat rich foods and energy dense foods, which are also rich in sugar and salt. These foods are also noted to be low in essential minerals, vitamins and the essential micronutrients. The other cause of obesity that WHO (2011) places much emphasis upon is the sedentary lifestyle that one lives. This lifestyle can be occasioned by urbanization and the reduced active life that urbanization comes with, the docile employment environments that many are exposed to of late as well as the evolving means of transport that leaves little space for daily exercise. Some of the factors caused by increasing urbanization revolve around preferring fast food over home-made meals, overeating, preferring food that is high in calorie, fat and sugar while low in fiber and calcium and increased consumption of soft drinks. This behavior is further enhanced by a surrounding where high-fat foods are easily available, can be bought easily and can be readily eaten without much preparation (Raj and Kumar, 2010).


A number of research studies have been carried out to measure the extent, scope, magnitude and implications of teenage obesity. For instance, According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics for 2005, at least 20 million children around the world are overweight (WHO, 2006). In the United States alone, 11% of the preschool population has been diagnosed as over weight (Johnson, Clark, Goree, O'Conner, & Zimmer, 2008). Teenage obesity is currently viewed as a worldwide epidemic that exists among all ethnic groups, social categories, and economic classes (Lee, 2007). The rising prevalence of both overweight and obese young females has evolved into an indisputable public health concern and is placing a tremendous burden on the country's health care system (Wake, Hardy, Canterford, Sawyer, & Carlin, 2007).

Similarly, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Obese young females have a 70% chance of becoming obese adults, with resulting higher risks for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancer. Obese young females have a greater risk of social and psychological problems such as depression, discrimination, and poor self- esteem. Obesity leads to heart disease caused by high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnoea, and/or social discrimination (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2008a and 2008b).

Time Plan

Activity Completed

Time Allowed

Thesis Proposal Completed

Expand and synthesise the literature review

Literature Review (Chapter 2) completed

4 months

Ethics Committee (waiting )

Conduct Focus Groups (done)

Questionnaire designed and tested (designed not tested yet )


Methodology (Chapter 3) completed

2 months

Tests issued and returned

Collection completed

6 months

Data Analysis completed

2 months

Introduction (Chapter 1) completed

Data analysis (Chapter 4) completed

2 months

Conclusion (Chapter 5) completed


Chapter revisions completed

Thesis submitted


Innovative Character of the Study

The innovative character of this study is in the specific approach that it has taken. Previous obesity studies have focused on intervention for obesity. This study joins the small list of research efforts aimed at preventing obesity in the teenage female student. The study is further innovative in nature because it focuses on the female student body within Saudi Arabia and the factors that lead to increasing obesity within this specific demographic. This study will use a preventive teaching strategy in a real-life classroom in Saudi Arabia where teenage girls typically learn the importance of sports. Neither the classroom environment nor the class routine will be altered in any way during this study.

Societal Relevance

The teenage population stands to gain from this study because this innovative preventive strategy is both cost-effective and realistic. Many obesity prevention and intervention programs are simply too costly to start and operate. Therefore, although these programs may be effective, they are not realistic for educator and healthcare workers to use because of time and budget constraints. Educators and health care workers therefore fall back on traditional health and wellness pamphlets (typically distributed by a school nurse), which are not aggressive enough. This study evaluates an affordable, non-traditional preventive program.

As educators and health-care workers seek to identify new ways to teach and implement interventions targeting fundamental concepts of health and wellness to teenage girls, this study of the merger of sports and health education will produce valuable data on the effectiveness of this teaching strategy compared with that of a traditional health and wellness pamphlet or no strategy at all. In addition, because this project will focus on preschool females, a population not often used for a study of this nature, it will most likely advance knowledge concerning obesity among educators and health care workers alike.

Looking thus, at the societal relevance of this study, it is easy to decipher that the study will be of immense help to not just the educators but also the healthcare programmers. It will help them understand the scientific and social factors that play a hand in not only creating obesity case amongst young girls but also sustaining them through their academic lives and adult years. Furthermore, it will also force the healthcare industry as a whole to produce more health-conscious foods for the younger female generation within the region of Saudi Arabia and will simultaneously force the education industry to implement healthier menus in their cafeterias to prevent obesity amongst young girls. It will also force the education industry to use the services of professional therapists to help the young girls deal with their obesity issues.

Scientific Relevance

The thesis is going to be focused on the research area of healthcare problems that face the younger female students. The specific health problem that this study will focus on will be obesity and the specific location will be Saudi Arabia; hence all female students chosen for the sample in this study will be studying in Saudi Arabian institutes. The approach for this is based upon Erikson's stages of development, which postulate that during the academic years, females play and imitate those around them (, 2008). Preventive strategies are critical in the fight against obesity. Such efforts are proven to be more cost-effective than intervention strategies (Cochran, 2008). Hence, the unique contribution of this study to the healthcare domain will be to focus on the prevention strategies and how important they are for the future generations both in terms of health as well as cost-effectiveness. However, this study will also highlight some intervention strategies which, at times complement prevention strategies, and also help in reducing the current obesity levels in the chosen region.


This analysis seeks to divulge the extent to which gender inequality especially in schools and the consequent denial of sports…[continue]

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