Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 207–214

Perceived barriers to weight maintenance among university students in Kuwait: the role of gender and obesity

  • Abdulrahman O. Musaiger
  • Fawzia I. Al-Kandari
  • Mariam Al-Mannai
  • Alaa M. Al-Faraj
  • Fajer A. Bouriki
  • Fatima S. Shehab
  • Lulwa A. Al-Dabous
  • Wassin B. Al-Qalaf
Regular Article

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the barriers to weight maintenance among university students in Kuwait by gender and obesity.

Methods

A sample of 530 students was selected at convenience from four universities in Kuwait (2 public and 2 private). The age of students ranged from 19 to 26 years. A self-reported pretested questionnaire was used to obtain the barriers, which were divided into barriers to healthy eating and barriers to physical activity. Weight and height were based on self-reporting, and the students were grouped into non-obese and obese according to the WHO classification. The response options to barriers were: very important, somewhat important and not important.

Results

The main barriers to healthy eating for both genders were: “Do not have skills to plan, shop for, prepare or cook healthy foods” and “Not having time to prepare or eat healthy food”. In general, there were no significant differences between men and women in barriers to healthy eating. There were highly significant differences between men and women regarding barriers to physical activity (P values ranged from <0.001 to <0.016). “Not having time to be physically active” and “The climate is not suitable for practising exercise” were the main barriers reported. Obese men were more likely to face barriers to healthy eating than non-obese men. There were no significant differences between obese and non-obese women regarding barriers to healthy eating and physical activity.

Conclusion

The findings of this study can be utilized in intervention activities to promote a healthy lifestyle and to combat obesity in Kuwait, and maybe in other Arab countries.

Keywords

Barriers to weight maintenance Healthy eating Physical activity Obesity Kuwait 

References

  1. 1.
    World Health Organization (WHO). Obesity and managing the global epidemic. WHO Technical Report Series 894, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, 1998.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Musaiger AO. Overweight and obesity in Eastern Mediterranean region: prevalence and possible causes. J Obes. 2011; p. 1–17. doi:10.1155/2011/407237.
  3. 3.
    Goh YY, Bogart LM, Sipple-Asher BK, Uyeda K, Hawes-Dawson J, Olarita-Dhungana J, et al. Using community-based participatory research to identify potential intervention to overcome barriers to adolescents’ healthy eating and physical activity. J Beh Med. 2009;32:491–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Al-Haifi AR, Al-Fayez MA, Al-Athari BI, Al-Ajmi FA, Allafi AR, Al-Hazzaa HM, et al. Relative contribution of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and dietary habits to the prevalence of obesity among Kuwaiti adolescents. Food Nutr Bull. 2013;34:6–13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Moussa MA, Shaltout AA, Nkonsa-Dwamena D, Mourad M, Alshsheikh N, Agha N, et al. Factors associated with obesity in Kuwaiti children. Eur J Epidemiol. 1999;15:41–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Al-Isa AN, Comphell J, Desapriya E. Factors associated with overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti men. Asia Pac J Public Health. 2013;25:63–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Al-Kandari YY. Prevalence of obesity in Kuwait and its relation to socio-cultural variables. Obes Rev. 2006;7:147–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    LaCaille LT, Dauner KN, Krambeer RJ, Bas JP. Psychosocial and environmental determinants of eating behaviours, physical activity and weight change among college students: qualitative analysis. J Am College Health. 2011;59:531–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Skinner K, Hanning RM, Tsuji LTS. Barriers and supports for healthy eating and physical activity for first nation’s youths in Northern Canada. Int J Circumpolar Health. 2006;65:148–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Al-Isa AN. Factors associated with overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti college women. Nutr Health. 1998;12:227–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Al-Isa AN. Factors associated with overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti college men. Br J Nutr. 1999;82:369–74.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    El-Ghazali S, Ibrahim JM, Kanari BM, Ismail NA. The relationship between lifestyle and body mass index among university students in Kuwait. Egypt J Comm Med. 2010;28:69–76.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Andajani-Suljahjo S, Ball K, Warren N, Inglis V, Crowford D. Perceived personal, social and environmental barriers to weight maintenance among young women: a community survey. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2004;1:15. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-1-15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Musaiger AO, Al-Mannai M, Tayyem R, Al-lala O, Ali EYA, Kalam F, et al. Perceived barriers to healthy eating and physical activity among adolescents in seven Arab countries: a cross-sectional study. Sci J. 2013; p. 232164. doi:10.1155/2013/232164.
  15. 15.
    Croll JK, Neumark-Sztainer D, Story M. Healthy eating: what does it mean to adolescents? J Nutr Educ. 2001;33:193–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Musaiger AO, Hassan AS, Obeid O. The paradox of nutrition-related diseases in the Arab countries: the need for action. Int J Env Res Pub Health. 2011;8:3637–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    El-sabban F, Badr HC. Assessment of nutritional knowledge and related aspects among first-year Kuwait university students. Ecol Food Nutr. 2011;50:181–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ward R. Talking with your patients about dietary cholesterol, diet and nutrition: best practices for family physicians. Int J Clin Pract Suppl. 2009;163(22–26):52–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Helman A. Nutrition and general practice: an Australian perspective. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65:1939–42.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Al-Madani KM, Landman J, Musaiger AO. Nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices: a comparison between medical practitioners and medical students in Bahrain. Health Educ. 2004;104:90–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Allafi AR, Alajmi F, Al-Haifi A. Survey of nutrition knowledge of physicians in Kuwait. Public Health Nutr. 2013;16:1332–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Findhalt NE, Michael YL, Jerofke LT, Brogoilli VW. Environmental influences on children’s physical activity and eating habits in rural Oregon country. Am J Health Promot. 2011;26:74–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Young EM, Fors SW, Hayes DM. Association between perceived parents behaviours and middle school students’ fruit and vegetables consumption. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2004;36:2–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Benton D. Role of parents in the determination of the food preferences of children and development of obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004;28:858–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Birch LL, Darison KK. Family environmental factors influencing the developing behavioural controls of food intake and childhood overweight. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001;48:893–907.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Seaglioni S, Salvioni M, Galimberti C. Influence of parental attitudes in the development of children eating behavior. Br J Nutr. 2008;99(Suppl 1):S22–5.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Stepherd J, Harden A, Rees R, Brunton G, Garcia J, Olives S, et al. Young people and healthy eating: a systematic review of research on barriers and facilitators. Health Educ Res. 2005;12:239–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Belonger M, Casey M, Cormier M, Filion Al, Martin G, Aubat S, et al. Maintenance and decline of physical activity during adolescence: insights from a qualitative study. Int J Behav Nutr Physical Act. 2011;8:117–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Chen YH, Yeh CY, Lai YM, Shyu ML, Huang KC, Chiou HY. Significant effects of implementation of health-promoting schools on schoolteachers’ nutrition knowledge and dietary intake in Taiwan. Public Health Nutr. 2010;13(4):579–88.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    World Health Organization. STEP-wise approach to surveillance (STEPS). http://www.who.int/chp/steps/enl. Accessed 17 Sept 2011.
  31. 31.
    Targerson JL, King KA. Do perceived cues, benefits and barriers to physical activity differ between male and female adolescents? J Sch Health. 2002;72:374–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Hygiene 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdulrahman O. Musaiger
    • 1
  • Fawzia I. Al-Kandari
    • 2
  • Mariam Al-Mannai
    • 3
  • Alaa M. Al-Faraj
    • 2
  • Fajer A. Bouriki
    • 2
  • Fatima S. Shehab
    • 2
  • Lulwa A. Al-Dabous
    • 2
  • Wassin B. Al-Qalaf
    • 2
  1. 1.Arab Centre for NutritionManamaKingdom of Bahrain
  2. 2.College of Medicine and Medical Sciences Arabian Gulf UniversityManamaKingdom of Bahrain
  3. 3.Department of MathematicsCollege of Science, University of BahrainManamaKingdom of Bahrain

Personalised recommendations