1 Al-Ahsa Public Health Directorate, Ministry of Health, Hofuf, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
2 Quality Assurance and Academic Development Unit, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
3 Public Health Department, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
To determine the association between the perceptions on obesity of Saudi university students and their Physical Activity (PA) as measured by Metabolic Equivalents (METs) Score.
This study utilized an analytical cross-sectional design. The level of perception on obesity was determined based on the responses to the Obesity Health Belief Model questionnaire while the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) was used to measure the students’ activity levels. Students with METs scores of less than 600 were classified as inactive. Descriptive and inferential statistics were computed using Epi Info version 7.
Majority (75.54%) of participants had a high level of perception of the seriousness of obesity. Only half of the participants had a high level of the perception of susceptibility towards becoming obese. Although most (93.53%) of the students had a high level of perception of the benefits of physical activity on obesity prevention, 98.2% had a moderate to high perception of the barriers to engage in physical activity. The prevalence of physical inactivity was 44.6% (95% CI: 38.67 - 50.66%) and was higher among female (51.71%) than male (24.66%) students. There was a positive linear relationship between the university students’ perception of obesity and their level of physical activity with a β coefficient = 72.6 (p value = 0.0003).
Saudi university students have a high perception of the seriousness of obesity and the benefits of physical activity towards obesity prevention; however, only half of them believe that they are susceptible to becoming obese. The students’ perceptions of obesity influence their physical activity.
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