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Factors affecting body weight in boys in primary school, Makkah, Saudi Arabia: A comparative case study

Alghamdi, Ahmed 2017. Factors affecting body weight in boys in primary school, Makkah, Saudi Arabia: A comparative case study. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Childhood is an important period for determining long-term health in life. One of the biggest threats facing children is obesity. Globally, childhood obesity is reaching the level of a serious public health concern. In some countries, rates of obesity have more than doubled in the last two decades. For example, in Saudi Arabia a recent national study of 11,112 children aged from 2-7 years found the prevalence of obesity among Saudi children has almost doubled since 2002. Global literature shows that obesity is a complex issue and that many factors contribute to children becoming overweight. From a review of the Saudi literature, it is clear that no previous study has used observation as a research methodology to explore the factors affecting body weight in Saudi schools and this is the first study completed within the Islamic school context. The aim of this study was to explore factors that affect body weight among boys in three types of school in Saudi Arabia (public, Islamic and private). A case study design and qualitative methods were adopted. Data were generated through observations, interviews with teachers and students, and by analysing documents. Three research committees from Cardiff University and the Saudi Ministry of Education approved the study. The total interviewees numbered 33 students and 18 teachers. The data analysis process was thematic and used inductive techniques, findings across all cases are presented under four major themes. The school’s system and philosophy play a significant role in affecting body weight among Saudi boys in primary schools. This theme includes the teacher’s role, school canteen system, school programmes and the role of the Ministry of Education. For example, in the public and Islamic schools, canteens are important source of income and this directs each school to sell to students what they want regardless of its nutritional value. The school environment, its infrastructure and facilities was the second theme. Unlike the private school, the public and Islamic schools benefited from new, appropriate, designs. Both these two schools have outdoor sports facilities but they are not prepared to maintain and continue physical education lessons in extreme weather conditions. The students’ health behaviours are a further factor affecting body weight among Saudi boys at all types of primary school. This theme includes students’ preferences, society and community. Three factors that exist outside schools can also affect students’ body weight at all types of primary school. These are media, family, and languages. Drawing on these themes, recommendations are made for policy, practice and research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 January 2018
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 15:37

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