Dietary and lifestyle habits amongst adolescents in Bahrain
Background: Changes in dietary habits and lifestyle are considered the main factors associated with several diet-related diseases in the Arab Gulf countries. The aim of this study was, therefore, to describe the dietary and lifestyle habits amongst adolescents in Bahrain. Design: A cross-sectional study was carried out amongst male and female secondary school students selected using the multi-stage stratified random sampling technique. A sample size of 735 subjects (339 males and 396 females), aged 15-18 years, was selected from government schools from all the governorates of Bahrain. Results: Skipping breakfast was significantly greater in females (62.8%) compared to males (37.2%), (P <0.01). About 88% of adolescents snacked during school break, 70.7% procuring food from the school canteen. Fruit was not consumed by about 27.7% of respondents (33.5% males, 66.5% females) and the gender difference was statistically significant (P <0.01). Fish and lentils were less preferred, while chicken was more popular. There was no significant difference between gender and frequency of eating fast food. About 8.4% of respondents reported not eating burgers, with 68.8% preferring regular size burgers. Furthermore, 24.4% preferred large portions of potato chips (53.1% male, 46.9% female). About 29.8% watched TV for more than 5 hours a day (51.2% females, 48.8% males). About 69% of males practiced sports everyday as against 30.8% of females (P <0.01) and 81.6% of those who participated in sport activity outside school were males compared to 18.4% of females. Conclusion: It seems that the adolescents in Bahrain are moving toward unhealthy dietary habits and lifestyles, which in turn will affect their health status in the future. Promoting healthy lifestyle and eating habits should be given a priority in school health programs.
Keywords: Bahrain; adolescents; food intake; fast foods; lifestyle; physical activity
(Published: 9 September 2011)
Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2011, 55: 7122 - DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v55i0.7122
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