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The prevalence of overweight/obesity in high school adolescents in Jeddah and the association of obesity association with dental caries

Deema Jamil Farsi, Heba Mohammed Elkhodary

From the Department of Pediatric Dentistry,King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

How to cite this article:

Farsi DJ, Elkhodary HM. The prevalence of overweight/obesity in high school adolescents in Jeddah and the association of obesity association with dental caries. Ann Saudi Med 2017; 37(2): 114-121.

DOI: 10.5144/0256-4947.2017.114


BACKGROUND: The prevalence of overweight/obesity in children in Saudi Arabia is among the highest in the world. The prevalence of dental caries is also high in Saudi children. Studies on the relationship between caries and obesity in Saudi adolescents are lacking.

OBJECTIVES: To study the prevalence of overweight/obesity in adolescents, and determine any association between obesity and caries.

DESIGN: An analytical cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Private and public schools in Jeddah.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study sample comprised high school children from public and private schools selected by multistage stratified random sampling. Height, weight, waist circumference (WC), and body mass index (BMI) were measured for all children, who were then classified as underweight/normal, overweight, or obese according to their BMI values, and nonobese or obese according to their WC values. The presence of caries was assessed using the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors criteria. 

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): The prevalence of overweight/obesity and the association of obesity with the number of decayed permanent teeth.

RESULTS: 801 high school children (48% boys, 49% from public schools) with a mean (SD) age of 16.5 (0.9) years. When the BMI classification was used, 24%, 16%, and 60% adolescents were obese, overweight, and underweight/normal, respectively. When the WC classification was used, 19% and 81% were obese and nonobese, respectively. Obesity was more prevalent in boys and in students attending private schools (P<.05). The number of decayed permanent teeth showed a very weak and insignificant correlation with BMI and WC.

CONCLUSION: One in every four adolescents residing in Jeddah was obese, with a high obesity prevalence in boys and in children attending private schools. The prevalence of caries in the permanent dentition was not associated with BMI or WC.

LIMITATIONS: It was difficult to establish temporality in this cross-sectional study. Data on common risk factors were not adjusted for in the analyses. 



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