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Investigating the Interrelationships Between Obesity, Academic Achievement, Physical Activity, and Social Support Among Jazan University Students

Omar Oraibi, Mohammed Somaili, Khaled Daghriri, Mohammed Alameer, Mohamed Arishi, Ali Sahli, Atiah Najmi, Faisal Otaif, Hanadi Abueishah, Bassem Oraibi, Abdulhameed Alhazmi, Luai Alhazmi.


Background: In developing and developed countries, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has grown. The college phase is a critical period during which healthy behaviors are learned through lifestyle and social environment. College students are prone to increased stress, negatively affecting their daily activities and academic performance. Objective: The general study objective was to investigate the prevalence of obesity among Jazan University students. Methods: This observational cross-sectional study used a pre-tested self-administered anonymous electronic questionnaire to evaluate the prevalence of obesity among 474 Jazan University students and its association with academic performance, physical activity, and social support. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, and associations between variables were assessed using the chi-square test. Results: Approximately 21% and 9.2% of the male and female students were obese, respectively, and the prevalence of obesity significantly differed between them. The use of one or more tobacco products was significantly associated with the prevalence of obesity (P < 0.001); the prevalence of obesity was substantially higher among the tobacco product users than among the non-users (35.3% vs. 14.4%). The presence of a morbidity was also significantly associated with the prevalence of obesity (P = 0.007); the prevalence of obesity was significantly higher among the students with at least one comorbidity than among the medically free students (28.8% vs. 14.9%). Conversely, obesity was not associated with academic performance and depression. Specifically, the grade point average was not affected across the academic years (P = 0.085 and P = 0.308, respectively). Conclusion: Obesity is significantly associated with male sex and the use of one or more tobacco products. This finding warrants the need for strategic and multidisciplinary plans at all levels to encourage healthy behaviors among college students, including an active, healthy lifestyle.

Key words: Physical activity, Grade point average, University students, Obesity.

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