Objectives: To estimate the distribution of the stages of change, which categorize the progression towards reaching and/or sustaining a healthy weight among male students of Qassim University.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed among male students of Qassim University during the 2016-2017 academic year. A random sample was carried out with an estimated sample size of 297. The data were obtained from a self-administered questionnaire. The weight and height of each study participant were measured by the researchers.
Results: Among the 264 male students who agreed to participate, 46% were within a healthy weight range while 6.9%, 21.4%, 21.8% and 4.8% were underweight, overweight, obese and morbidly obese, respectively. About 72.3% of the students were in the preparation, action, or maintenance stages (i.e. advanced stage) of reaching or maintaining an ideal weight, especially those who were of healthy weights, overweight or obese. Logistic regression was performed to ascertain the effects of the study variables on the likelihood that participants were in the advanced stage and revealed statistically significant association only for the importance level of reaching and/or sustaining the healthy weight and the adherence to regular exercise.
Conclusion: A large proportion of the students were in the advanced stage of reaching or maintaining an ideal weight. Only about half of the participants had a healthy body weight. Educational programs should be designed and implemented at all educational levels and in the community for raising the level of readiness for lifestyle changes aimed at reaching and sustaining a healthy weight.
Key words: Obesity, overweight, healthy weight, stage of change, Qassim University