Gender Differences in the Attitudes and Management of People with Obesity in Saudi Arabia: Data from the ACTION-IO Study

Rasha A. Almubark, Saleh Alqahtani, Moataz Yahia, Assim A. Alfadda, Arthur C. Isnani, Ali Alqarni, Mahmoud Shams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Several studies have investigated gender differences in various obesity-related outcomes. Females were found to have more accurate weight perception and reported more frequency of attempted weight loss. The objective of this study was to assess gender differences in the attitudes and management of people with obesity (PwO) in Saudi Arabia using data from the ACTION-IO study. Patients and Methods: A survey was conducted in Saudi Arabia in June and July 2018 on adults with obesity (based on self-reported body mass index of ≥30 kg/m2). Results: A total of 1000 people with obesity completed the survey; 565 (56.5%) were male (mean age of 36.9 years and mean BMI of 33.5 kg/m2) and 435 (43.5%) were female (mean age of 36.3 years and mean BMI of 34.5 kg/m2). The two most reported motivations for wanting to lose weight for both groups were to improve appearance (38%) and to have more energy (35%). Females were more likely to trust their health-care provider (HCP) advice about weight management when compared to males (87% females, 82% males, p = 0.059) and were more likely to have concerns regarding long-term safety associated with prescription weight loss medications (65% female versus 59% males, p = 0.043). On the other hand, males were more likely to seek their physician to prescribe weight loss medication if they hear of a new medication (55% males versus 46% females, p = 0.014), and more to believe that there are good options available for weight loss medications (74% males versus 67% females, p = 0.040). Also, more males prefer to take weight loss medications than to have a weight loss surgery (65% males, 59% females, p = 0.054). Conclusion: Overall, this study increases our understanding on the attitudes of both females and males towards the management of weight loss and opens the discussion for gender-specific weight loss interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1188
Number of pages10
JournalRisk Management and Healthcare Policy
StatePublished - 2022


  • Saudi Arabia
  • gender
  • management
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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