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


Background: There is paucity of studies defining the prevalence of non-communicable disease (NCD) riskfactors 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 atKing Faisal University in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia and to determine the possible correlates for clustering of NCDsrisk factors among them. Materials and
Methods: All employees were invited to participate; the World HealthOrganization STEPwise approach was used for data collection which consisted of a personal interview to collectsocio-demographic characteristics, NCD history, tobacco use, vegetables and fruit consumption, and physicalactivity (PA), followed by anthropometric measurements namely weight, height and waist circumference andblood pressure measurements, subjects were finally subjected to biochemical tests with determination of fastingplasma 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 ofvegetables, fruits and both fruits and vegetables respectively, 73% were physically inactive, 64% were overweightor 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 ≥3 factors. Multivariate logistic regression showed that gender (being male, adjusted odds ratio‘aOR’=1.51), aged ≥ 50 years (aOR=3.06), < college education (aOR=1.75), current smokers (aOR=2.37), beingobese (aOR=6.96) and having a low PA level (aOR=4.59) were the significant positive predictors for clustering ofNCD risk factors.
Conclusions: Over fifty percent of the studied university’s employees had multiple (≥3) NCDrisk factors. Screening and health promotion initiatives should be launched at least targeting the modifiablefactors to avert the excessive risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and several types of cancers.