Attitudes of Jordanian Adolescent Students Toward Overweight and Obesity
Nesrin N. Abu Baker1, *, Nahla Al-Ali1, Ranyah Al-Ajlouni2
1 Faculty of Nursing, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid 22110, Jordan
2 Princess Salma Faculty of Nursing, Al-Albayt University, Mafraq 2, Jordan
Obesity is a serious public health problem especially among adolescents. Understanding adolescents’ attitudes toward obesity and healthy lifestyle is a crucial step to develop effective health programs to treat and prevent obesity.
To examine the attitudes toward overweight and obesity among Jordanian adolescent students and to identify the components of obesity prevention program that the students perceive as important.
A sample of 1000 students in 8th to 10th grades was randomly selected from 16 schools in Irbid, Jordan. A self-reported questionnaire including attitude related questions was used in a descriptive, cross-sectional study.
Generally, the students expressed positive attitudes toward obesity; which means that their attitudes were consistent with societal norms in terms of health and social functioning (mean= 3.5, SD=0.39). Furthermore, the students expressed positive attitudes toward lifestyle; which means that their attitudes were consistent with healthy behaviors (mean=3.7, SD=0.58). However, boys had significantly more positive attitudes than girls (p=0.04). The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 23.8%, while obese and non-obese students had similar attitudes toward lifestyle and obesity. Finally, around 20% to 30% of students desired a prevention program out of school time shared with their families and friends and involves eating healthy food and getting more exercise.
More efforts are needed to build effective obesity prevention programs that focus on eating healthy diet and getting more exercise considering gender differences.
Keywords: Adolescents, Attitudes, Obesity, Overweight, Health program, Jordan.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Nursing, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O.Box 3030, Irbid 22110 Jordan; Tel: +962(02)7201000, Fax: +962(02)7095123; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org