Television watching, diet and body mass index of school children in Saudi Arabia.
Sommaire de l'article
Watching television has been widely associated with various health and psychological outcomes in children. Excessive intake of carbonated, sweetened beverages and fast foods, inadequate intake of fruits & dairy products; and reduced levels of physical activity also pose risk to healthy lifestyle among youth. However, limited literature is available on cross cultural aspects of duration of television viewing, diet preferences and their effect on weight in school children in Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. We conducted an online survey in school children in Saudi Arabian (age between 12 – 16 years) to find if there is any association between their duration of daily television watching, body mass index (BMI), eating habits and diet preferences.
A self-administered online questionnaire was uploaded online and link was sent to school children inviting them to participate in the study. It included questions pertaining to Demographic data; family medical status; daily routine in and after school; number of hours of daily TV watching, their self-perception of own health and daily diet habits and preferences.
220 children between ages of 12 – 16 years participated. Results show higher duration of television viewing, higher consumption of high fat fast foods and high sugar containing drinks together pose a major threat on body mass index. (p < 0.05) CONCLUSIONS: Availability of television in personal rooms of children, high fat foods and drinks in school and other cafeterias in Saudi seem to be the major causes of this association which needs to be checked and limited. Parents and teachers need to be trained as they can play a major role in its prevention. Saudi Arabia is a growing country banking on its youth. Their awareness can prevent incidence and prevalence of such ill health habits among them.