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



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


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.


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.


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.


Barriers to weight maintenance Healthy eating Physical activity Obesity Kuwait 


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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

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