Prevalence and risk factors associated with obesity among students of a private university in Sana’a, Yemen

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sciences and Technology, Sana’a, Yemen



Introduction: There is no published study on obesity among private university students in Yemen. Therefore, this study determined the prevalence and factors associated with obesity among medical students of the University of Science and Technology (UST) in Sana’a, Yemen.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 448 students aged 18-29 years and randomly selected from medical faculties of the UST between January and April 2017. Data about sex, age, smoking, participation in physical activities and family history of obesity were collected using a self-administered questionnaire, while anthropometric measurements were performed according to standard criteria, and body mass index (BMI) was then calculated.
Results: The majority of students were males (62.1%), aged 22 years or older (63.4%), having normal weight (54.0%) and reporting no family history of obesity (65.0%). Male gender (OR=3.51; 95% CI = 2.22–5.53, P < 0.001), age of 22 years or older (OR = 2.73; 95% CI = 1.53 –3.67, P < 0.001), smoking (OR = 2.66; 95% CI=1.69–4.18, P <0.001) and physical inactivity (OR = 3.49; 95% CI = 2.24–5.42, P < 0.001) were the factors significantly associated with overweight and obesity among medical students. In contrast, family history of obesity was not significantly associated with overweight and obesity (P = 0.936).
Conclusion: About a third of students were either overweight or obese, where overweight/obesity are associated with male gender, older age, smoking and physical inactivity. Therefore, there is a need for health education to raise the awareness of medical students regarding healthy diet and lifestyle to manage body weight.