Journal of the Arab American University مجلة الجامعة العربية الامريكية للبحوث

Journal of the Arab American University  مجلة الجامعة العربية الامريكية للبحوث



Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. The effects of childhood overweight and obesity are devastating to the health and well-being of children now and throughout adulthood. The overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer at a younger age.

Study Aim: The aim of the study is investigating the problem of overweight/obesity among secondary school students in Gaza Strip, Palestine.

Study design: The design of this study was cross-sectional, descriptive, analytical, and was used to address the research questions.

Setting: The study was conducted at six secondary schools in Gaza Strip divided evenly between males and females.

Method: A structured self-administered questionnaire was distributed to the randomly selected sample from the six schools in parallel with anthropometric measurements to calculate BMI and then determine the overweight and obesity status.

Results: The results showed that 25% of the study subjects were overweight/ obese; 6.9% were obese, and 18.1% were overweight. Only four factors were significant as determinants of having obesity: sex, residency, monthly income and education level of parents. More specifically, there were statistical significant differences in terms of overweight/obesity between the females (28.9%), the males (21.1%), urban area (29.5%) rural area (19.5%), poor students (30.5%) and not poor students (15.1%). In addition, students with educated parents had less obesity than those with uneducated parents.

Recommendation: There is an urgent necessity to promote health education at both children and adolescent schools about the healthy diet and the importance of improving their lifestyle in terms of healthy nutritional habits and physical activity.