Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(8), 3502-3517; doi:10.3390/ijerph10083502
Article

Female University Students’ Physical Activity Levels and Associated Factors—A Cross-Sectional Study in Southwestern Saudi Arabia

1 The PRO-CARE Group, School of Health and Society, Kristianstad University, SE-291 88 Kristianstad, Sweden 2 Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden 3 Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology, The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, SE-114 86 Stockholm, Sweden 4 National Childhood Obesity Center, Departments of Pediatrics and of Clinical Science, Intervention, and Technology, Karolinska University Hospital, Karolinska Institute, SE-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden 5 Department of Health Sciences, Medical Faculty, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden 6 Pediatric Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory, College of Education and Obesity Research Chair, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 April 2013; in revised form: 1 August 2013 / Accepted: 1 August 2013 / Published: 9 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
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Abstract: Background: The high prevalence of physical inactivity in Saudi Arabia is a growing challenge to public health. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of physical activity (PA) and associated factors among female university students. Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 663 randomly selected female university students who completed the Arab Teens Life Style questionnaire. Data included measurements of anthropometric, socioeconomic and environmental factors, as well as self-reported PA. Ordinal regression was used to identify associated factors with low, moderate and high PA levels. Results: The mean age of participants was 20.4 years (SD 1.5). Mean BMI of the students in relation to PA were 23.0, 22.9, 22.1 for high, moderate and low levels of activity, respectively. The analysis revealed significantly higher PA levels among married students, those with high educated mothers, and those who lived far from parks, and lower activity levels among underweight students. Conclusions: This study raises four important determinants for female university students’ PA levels. These factors could be of great importance in the endeavor to prevent the health-threatening increase in physical inactivity patterns and thus non-communicable diseases and obesity where the focus should be on the specific situation and needs of women in Saudi Arabia.
Keywords: epidemiologic methods; Middle East; women’s health; Saudi Arabia; physical activity; female university students; cross-sectional studies; socioeconomic factors

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MDPI and ACS Style

Khalaf, A.; Ekblom, Ö.; Kowalski, J.; Berggren, V.; Westergren, A.; Al-Hazzaa, H. Female University Students’ Physical Activity Levels and Associated Factors—A Cross-Sectional Study in Southwestern Saudi Arabia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 3502-3517.

AMA Style

Khalaf A, Ekblom Ö, Kowalski J, Berggren V, Westergren A, Al-Hazzaa H. Female University Students’ Physical Activity Levels and Associated Factors—A Cross-Sectional Study in Southwestern Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(8):3502-3517.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Khalaf, Atika; Ekblom, Örjan; Kowalski, Jan; Berggren, Vanja; Westergren, Albert; Al-Hazzaa, Hazzaa. 2013. "Female University Students’ Physical Activity Levels and Associated Factors—A Cross-Sectional Study in Southwestern Saudi Arabia." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 8: 3502-3517.

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