Khat Chewing and Its Effect on Weight Status Among Adult Males Visiting Primary Health Care Centers in Jazan City, KSA

Dr. Zakaria Ibrahim Melaisi

Family Medicine Joint Program  – Jazan – 2015

Background: Although Khat is illegal in Saudi Arabia, Khat chewing Habit (Takhzeen) is a common deep rooted socio-cultural traditional habit in Jazanregion (in south-west region of Saudi Arabia). Many researches cite adverse effect
of Khat.

Objectives: The main objective was to identify the effect of Khat chewing on weight status and compare BMI and lifestyle between Khat chewer and non-Khat chewer adult males.

Subjects and Methods: This was a cross sectional study conducted in Jazan primary health care centers located in Jazan city (n=10), throughout the period April to May, 2015. Two primary health care centers were randomly selected out of the 10 centers present in Jazan city by simple random technique. A representative random sample of adult males attending these primary health care centers was included. For those who accepted to participate in the study, a selfadministered Arabic questionnaire was distributed. The physical activity part was derived from short version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). The diet part was derived from diet section of the 3-steps questionnaire of the World Health Organization (Version 3). BMI was calculated for all respondents.
Results: The study included 311 male who gave completed questionnaire and measurements, out of targeted 357 with a response rate of 87.1%. Their age ranged between 18 and 54 years with a mean (􀀁SD) of 32.4 (􀀁6.7) years. Most of them (80.1%) were at least university graduated. Almost one-third of the participants (33.1%) were overweight and 40.5% of them were obese whereas 23.5% were normal. The current prevalence of khat chewing is 13.8%. The highest rate of khat chewing was reported among those working in other jobs (divers, manual workers, trading) (68%) and militaries (60%) whereas the lowest rate was reported among businessmen (16.7%) and students (24.1%), p<0.001. The association between khat chewing and body mass index was not statistically significant, p=0.086. There is a statistically significant association between
physical activity and khat chewing among participants as 65.9% of khat chewers compared to 45% of non-khat chewers showed low physical activity. On the other hand, 10.8% of khat chewer compared to 16.2% of non-khat chewer were high
physically active, p=0.002.
Conclusion: The current prevalence of khat chewing among educated adult males attending primary health care centers in Jazan is relatively low. Khat chewing is not significantly related to users` body mass index while khat chewers had higher rate of low physical activity and lower rate of high physical activity compared to non-chewers


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