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Undernutrition risk, overweight/obesity, and nutritional care in relation to undernutrition risk among inpatients in southwestern Saudi Arabia: a hospital-based point prevalence study
Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society. (PRO-CARE, Avdelningen för Hälsovetenskap)
Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society. (Klinisk Patientnära Forskning, PRO-CARE, MMH24, Avdelningen för Hälsovetenskap)
3Exercise Physiology Laboratory, and Obesity Research Chair, King Saud University, Riyadh.
Department of Public Health Sciences, The Division of Global Health (IHCAR), Karolinska Institute.
Show others and affiliations
2011 (English)In: Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy, Vol. 1, no 2, 104- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Undernutrition is a problem in institutional care, where 20–46% of all inpatients are classified as being “at nutritional risk”. This study explores the prevalence of undernutrition risk and overweight/obesity and the targeting of nutritional care in relation to undernutrition risk among inpatients in southwestern Saudi Arabia.


A cross-sectional, point prevalence study was carried out in a Central hospital in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The subjects were inpatients, over the age of 18 who had their nutritional status assessed. Moderate/high undernutrition risk was defined as the occurrence of at least two of: weight loss, low BMI, and/or eating difficulties. Overweight/obesity was graded by using Caucasian and Asian cut-offs for BMI.


Out of 219 patients 166 (76%) agreed to participate (106 men and 60 women) with a significantly higher drop-out among women (n=35, 37% vs. men n=18, 14%). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of moderate/high undernutrition risk between men and women (40% vs. 38%) but more women (29% or 40%, depending on cut-off) than men (10% or 23%) were obese. Among patients at moderate/high undernutrition risk, more women (61%) than men (31%) were served small portions.


There is a need to increase awareness about nutrition among nurses, to implement nutritional guidelines and to do more research regarding overweight/obesity among the female population. Motivational strategie  need to be developed to focus on increasing the Saudi female participation in research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 1, no 2, 104- p.
Keyword [en]
Nutrition, eating, MEONF, MEOF, Saudi Arabia
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-8867DOI: 10.4172/jndt.1000104OAI: diva2:475336
Available from: 2012-01-10 Created: 2012-01-10 Last updated: 2015-01-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Nutrition, weight status and physical activity in Saudi Arabia: with special focus on women
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Nutrition, weight status and physical activity in Saudi Arabia: with special focus on women
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: The prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been escalating to levels that are threatening the public health of the entire KSA population, especially the female population. However, both physical activity (PA) education and research have only focused to a limited extent on women’s health status.

Objectives: The overall aim of this thesis was to increase our knowledge on the current health situation of both a hospital-based and a healthy female population in the KSA with regard to nutritional status, habits, practices, and PA.

Methods: This thesis contains four Papers (I–IV) whose data were collected in the southwestern region of the KSA. A total of 166 hospital patients (60 women and 106 men) were screened regarding their nutritional status, 15 registered nurses were interviewed, and 663 female university students self-reported their PA levels and nutritional habits and had their anthropometrics measured. The data were analyzed using SPSS (Papers I, III, and IV) and latent content analysis (Paper II).

Findings: Significantly more women (29%) than men (10%) were found to be obese in Paper I. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of patients at risk for undernutrition between women and men (40% vs. 38%), but significantly more women than men received care targeting undernutrition in the hospital-based study population. Individual interviews with nurses in Paper II showed that nurses were “bridging malnutrition and physical inactivity” by identifying “potentials to provide good nutrition and PA” to the patients and their relatives and by stating their “ability to provide patients with good nutrition and PA”. The majority (57.0%) of the female participants in Papers III and IV were of normal weight, 19.2% were underweight, and 23.8% were overweight/obese. The mean body mass index (BMI) of the students in relation to high, moderate, and low levels of PA was 23.0, 22.9, and 22.1, respectively. Significant associations were found between PA and marital status, the mother’s education level, the participant’s BMI, and residential proximity to parks and recreational facilities. Several variables were found to correlate with dietary habits, underweight, and overweight/ obesity. Of special interest were the negative and positive associations between the number of siblings and the participants’ BMI and dietary habits.

Interpretations: The results of these studies emphasize the coexistence of underweight and overweight/obesity among both healthy persons and hospital patients. The total prevalence of overweight/obesity among both hospital patients and female university students is higher in the KSA compared to other international settings. Furthermore, the fact that patients at risk of undernutrition or with manifest undernutrition do not get adequate nutritional care is understandable given our results showing that the interviewed nurses were not given the authority to provide the nutritional care that they thought necessary.

Conclusions: This thesis suggests that the promotion of PA and nutritional education for women should be a major target for policy makers as well as public health practitioners and researchers. The goal for such activities would be to prevent the inevitable health complications related to poor dietary habits and lack of PA.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Karolinska institutet, 2014. 61 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-13456 (URN)978-91-7549-329-9 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-01-29 Created: 2015-01-29 Last updated: 2015-01-29Bibliographically approved

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