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Obesity self-management: knowledge, attitude, practice, and pharmaceutical use among healthy obese individuals in Saudi Arabia


Abstract

Introduction: Obesity is a chronic disease that is increasing in Saudi Arabia (SA) and globally. Obesity self-management among individuals is essential for managing obesity and its complications. This study aimed to conduct an obesity knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) assessment and prevalence of used pharmaceutical anti-obesity medications among individuals with obesity in SA.
Subjects and methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted between January and April 2021. The participants completed a validated online administered questionnaire using the Survey Monkey website. Potential participants were approached in governmental hospitals, leisure centers, and shopping malls. The chi-square test was used to assess associations between categorical variables. In addition, correlations between the participants’ KAP and outcome variables were measured using the Pearson correlation coefficient (r).
Results: In all, 410 obese individuals (mean age 40±14 years, range 18–80 years) were surveyed. Overall, 68% of participants reported good obesity knowledge, and 63% reported a good attitude, while 72% reported poor practice. In addition, there were significant positive linear correlations between knowledge and attitude (r=0.44, P<0.001), knowledge and practice (r=0.14, P<0.01), attitude and practice (r=0.11, P<0.05), body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference (WC) (r=0.25, P<0.01), while there were significant negative linear correlations between knowledge and BMI (r=−0.20, P<0.001), attitude and BMI (r=−0.19, P<0.001), practice and BMI (r=−0.67, P<0.001), knowledge and WC (r=−0.10, P<0.05), attitude and WC (r=−0.10, P<0.05), and practice and WC (r=−0.45, P<0.001). Interestingly, 67% of participants did not use any approved pharmaceutical antiobesity medications due to a lack of anti-obesity treatment knowledge and safety.
Conclusion: The participants reported good knowledge and attitudes toward obesity, although these were not reflected in their practice levels. The lack of pharmaceutical knowledge, safety, and use of anti-obesity medications contributed directly to poor practice levels. Health authorities should establish clinical and pharmaceutical health education programs incorporating the latest pharmaceutical anti-obesity medications, including their applications and safety, for enhancing self-management and awareness among obese individuals.

Keywords

obesity, knowledge, attitude, practice, pharmaceutical use, Saudi Arabia, self-management, complications, anti-obesity

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