Rapid development in Qatar in recent years has led to numerous changes, particularly the increased prevalence of lifestyle related health risks, with almost 50% obesity rates amongst Qataris of all ages. We investigated the effects of a 10-week exercise training program aimed at young Qatari adults, on a number of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. With Qatar University IRB approval, we screened 158 (89 males, 69 females) Qatari student volunteers from Qatar University for CVD factors of hypertension indicated by Systolic Blood Pressure (BPS) and Diastolic Blood Pressure (BPD), overweight and obesity indicated by Body Fat percentage (%BF), Body Weight (BW) and Body Mass Index (BMI). Thirty six participants (23% of total number) were identified with one or more risk factors (hypertension and overweight), and were enrolled to follow a 10-week recreational-type exercise training program. The training involved 30-45 min of either walking, cycling, jogging and swimming at an exercise intensity corresponding to 50-85% of each participant’s maximum heart rate, on 3-5 times/week. The intervention significantly reduced BW (93.4±14.1 vs. 86.7±14.5, and p<0.05), BMI (31.0±3.6 vs. 28.7±3.9, p<0.05) and BF% (31.2±9.0 vs. 21.2±4.4, p<0.05) in males, and there was a significant reduction in BPD (83.4±5.3 vs. 76.0±9.2 mm Hg, p<0.05). The effects in female participants were not significant. This recreational-type exercise intervention was effective in substantially reducing the CVD indices. However, the alarmingly high prevalence of sedentary-related CVD risks amongst Qatari young adults, especially those related to obesity, overweight and hypertension necessitate further public health interventions in this age-group as an early prevention strategy.
Kneffel, Z., Goebel, R., & Alkhatib, A. (2015). Cardiovascular risk factors and their responses to a 10 weeks training program in young Qatari adults. Obesity Research Open Journal, 2(2), 57-63. https://doi.org/10.17140/OROJ-2-110