Profile of Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factors Among Employees at a Saudi University

  • Published : 2014.10.11


Background: There is paucity of studies defining the prevalence of non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors in Saudi Arabia despite the surging epidemic of obesity, change in dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle. Objectives: This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the prevalence of NCDs risk factors among employees at King Faisal University in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia and to determine the possible correlates for clustering of NCDs risk factors among them. Materials and Methods: All employees were invited to participate; the World Health Organization STEPwise approach was used for data collection which consisted of a personal interview to collect socio-demographic characteristics, NCD history, tobacco use, vegetables and fruit consumption, and physical activity (PA), followed by anthropometric measurements namely weight, height and waist circumference and blood pressure measurements, subjects were finally subjected to biochemical tests with determination of fasting plasma glucose, serum triglycerides, cholesterol and high density lipoproteins. Results: Of the surveyed employees (n=691), daily current smokers accounted for 22.7%. 94.9%, 95.1% and 86% consumed < 5 servings per day of vegetables, fruits and both fruits and vegetables respectively, 73% were physically inactive, 64% were overweight or obese, 22.1% had hypertension, and 21.5% were diabetics. Elevated cholesterol levels were found in 36.6%, low high density lipoproteins in 36.8%, and elevated triglycerides in 36.1%. Only 3% had no NCD risk factors, and 57.6% had ${\geq}3$ factors. Multivariate logistic regression showed that gender (being male, adjusted odds ratio 'aOR'=1.51), aged ${\geq}50$ years (aOR=3.06), < college education (aOR=1.75), current smokers (aOR=2.37), being obese (aOR=6.96) and having a low PA level (aOR=4.59) were the significant positive predictors for clustering of NCD risk factors. Conclusions: Over fifty percent of the studied university's employees had multiple (${\geq}3$) NCD risk factors. Screening and health promotion initiatives should be launched at least targeting the modifiable factors to avert the excessive risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and several types of cancers.


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