In order to get various information for comparative analysis, several online databases will be explored so that the scientific data and social factors that will be unearthed are factual enough and relevant to the study of obesity among teenagers.
The publication year was used from 2000 to present. This is because the researcher can be access to the best data. Also, this period has showed the fast economic development that has affected on life style and public health. Some of those internet resources will include:
1. Databases and Subject Resources at Flinders University Library: Medline - Ovid, Scopus, Science Direct?, and Web of knowledge -- ISI. All of these have the best database for retrieving data and studies. Also, the researcher can access the times cited and cited references, this is done with much ease hence the researcher will spend a relatively short time looking for the information he needs from these sources.
2. Databases at King Feisal University: This is because the researcher can access target group's information in Saudi Arabia with much ease.
3. Internet: Annals of Saudi Medicine, Google scholar and WHO. These are popular and reliable websites to research form and use as a source of academically qualified information.
4. Hand search: Arab Centre for Nutrition and magazine and books. This source was chose due its reliability since a researcher can readily access the best information about Arab countries and the health situation as well as accompanying data.
Results of search
It was noted that there have not been a lot of literature written nor research conducted on the subject of obesity in Saudi. This in effect has exacerbated the problem of obesity which as a result lead to an array of other complications that Saudi youth are predisposed to on daily basis in their lives. It is established that 60% of the youth in Saudi are susceptible to the menace of obesity (Ministry of Helath, 2005) (See to an appendix 16).
The research is directed towards getting as much as possible relevant data that will help in the unravelling of A). The social consequences of Obesity in Saudi and B). The best way out of the obesity menace in Saudi.
For the Saudi society to permanently solve the issue of obesity, particularly among the teenagers, it is essential to adopt a behavioural and a socio-economic approach to the whole issue, a proposal that this research endeavours to bring to the fore.
One of the most significant researches that have been conducted in this field determined that there were more cases of overweight among the girls standing at 13.5% and obesity stood at 11.9% against that of boys where overweight was pegged at 9.1% and obesity at 12.3% (Alam, 2008; Alshari,2000; El Hazmi & Warsy, 2002; Madani, et al., 2006; Nadia & Gharib, 2008).
Another research was done was that by Faisal University in Damman city among 205 students covering quite comprehensively the youth gap. This research revealed that 28.9% of university students were not engaged in any way in physical exercises and a significant 19% of them found to be smokers and even a greater number being regulars at consumption of foods packed with saturated fats, soft drinks as well as the unhealthy fast foods. 24.5% were noted to be overweight, 11.9% obese and an astonishing 10.7% were noted to be severely obese. If the research is anything to go by, then only 52.9% is left with the recommended weight Khalid, et al. (2008) found results similar to the above.
In a research conducted by Hazzaa M. Al-Hazzaa (2007) on the prevalence of obesity among school boys in central Saudi indicated that there was a significant increase in the BMI of school going children in this region between 1988 and 2005. This alarming trend was an indicator that the menace of child obesity is one that was fast eating into the social mesh and needed urgent control. This increase was due to the fact that 61% of the children in Saudi and 70% of the youth do not engage in physical exercises of any kind.
There are several instances within Arabia of health related issues in Arabia that are accelerated by the gender inequality that exists in the society with a historical cultural foundation. The girls are widely denied the access to sports and school activities that would see them become active as is accorded to the boys (Alam, 2008). There is a lot of cultural backing to this trend of segregation against girls in sports activities with a claim that it would break their hymen as noted by (Musaiger, 2001; Berger & Peerson, 2009).
Data collected by El-Hazmi M.A.F., et.al (1997) indicated that the menace of obesity is frequently experienced in all the provinces of Saudi with the females being generally more obese than males. The highest obesity prevalence in urban areas is more than rural areas (Al-Othaimeen, et.al, 2007; Al-Saeed, et.al, 2007; Khalid, 2008). See to the appendixes (1 & 3). Thus, there is urgent need to handle the issue of obesity among girls, and of interest is the urban lot so as to mitigate the psychological harm that such girls have to undergo with the loss of the self-image (Dwyer et al., 1970 & Abalkhail, 2002).
Social Factors and Solutions to obesity in Saudi Arabia
The social determinants of health which according to WHO (2011) include access to health education, gender, health services, income and social-environment.
Lifestyle and Dietary trends
One of the many noted causes of obesity in Saudi Arabia is the changing lifestyle that is fast becoming westernised. This is due to the rich oil deposits that generate income to families around such areas especially in the Eastern region hence prodding them to venture into the Western lifestyle as a means of expressing affluence and change of class. See to the appendixes (5 & 6).
It is regrettable that due to the affordability of food among many families due to the oil wealth that has hit the country over the last 3 decades, food has moved from being a source of nourishment to more of status, pleasure and a determinant of the lifestyle one lives. This fact allows teenagers to ingest vast amounts of fats and calorie rich foods as a luxury and coupled with their inactive lifestyle, obesity becomes the result as indicated by Tarek Tawfiq Amin et.al, (2008). According to British Nutrition Foundation (1999) found obese people are more likely to eat fat foods compared to non-obese.
The embracing of the Western lifestyle then subjects girls to junk foods that are noted to be filled with free sugar, sodium and cholesterol. When such foods are eaten over a long period of time, them it becomes a precursor to obesity as indicated by Sidiga & Maha, (2010 ). The parents also worsen the situation by making poor nutritional choices; they reward their children with candies and fede them with junk food. These cases have caused an epidemic of obesity in Saudi Arabia 40% of secondary children.
Moreover, The percentage of young Saudi women who are either overweight or obese (which is a degree beyond being overweight) has risen in a relatively short period of time to what can be described as astonishing levels. Al Qauhiz (2010), for example, found that the rates of women who are overweight and obese young females from are now 65.4% in the eastern region of the kingdom.
According to S. Karger (2009), the rate of obesity is higher among pregnant women. This is due to the accumulation of fat in women during the nine months of pregnancy and the apparent deviation from their normal feeding habits among the pregnant women in this period of time. Hence, there is a significant 86% obesity rate among married women than it is among the unmarried women (Musaiger et al., 2000; Musaiger, 2001). See to an appendix 7.
Abalkhail et al. (2002) found results, which examined the eating and exercise habits of both adolescent males and females, found that diet (not surprisingly) was the most important factor in predicting higher-than-healthy weight. The school dietary regime that was offered to the participants in this study was relatively effective in keeping weight within a healthy range. One of the key findings in this study was that the students (because of the school-instituted structure) were highly likely to eat breakfast, which is generally considered by nutritionists and other health professionals to be a key element of an overall healthy diet.
A research conducted by Musaiger, et.al., (2000) indicated that the rate of obesity was higher among women who ate three meals a day on a daily basis than those who choose to skip heavy meals at times. It also notes that those women who at snacks in the evening were more prone to obesity than those who ate them in…