Cardiovascular Risk Factors and their Responses to a 10 Weeks Training Program in Young Qatari Adults

Zsuzsanna Kneffel, Ruben Goebel, Ahmad Alkhatib

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Rapid development in Qatar in recent years has led to numerous changes, particu-
larly 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 vol-
unteers 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 partici-
pants (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 pro-
gram. 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 ef-
fective 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
JournalObesity Research Open Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015


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