Obesity in adult Nigerians: A study of its pattern and common primary co-morbidities in a rural Mission General Hospital in Imo state, south-eastern Nigeria

  • GUP Iloh
  • AN Amadi
  • BO Nwankwo
  • VC Ugwu
Keywords: Adult, common co-morbidities, obesity, pattern, rural hospital, Nigeria


Objectives: This study was generally aimed at determining the prevalence and pattern of obesity using body mass index (BMI) criterion and specifically screening for its common primary co-morbidities among adult Nigerians attending a rural Mission General Hospital in Imo state, South-Eastern Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A descriptive study was carried out from June 2008 to May 2009. A total of 2156 consecutive new adult patients aged 18-90 years were screened for obesity using the BMI criterion, and 129 patients had BMI ≥30 kg/m2 and met the inclusion criteria. The data collected included age, sex, marital status, education, occupation, social class, weight, height and blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and lipid profile.
Results: The prevalence of obesity was 6.0%, with class I obesity (86.1%) being the most common pattern. Hypertension (16.3%) was the most common primary co-morbidity; others included low high-density lipoprotein —cholesterol (21.7%), high low-density lipoprotein—cholesterol (9.3%), high total cholesterol (7.8%), high triglyceridemia (4.7%) and diabetes mellitus (3.9%).
Conclusions: This study has shown that obesity and its primary co-morbidities are emerging as a serious health problem among the study population, with class I obesity being the most common pattern and hypertension being the most common primary co-morbidity. Anthropometric determination of obesity and screening for its common primary co-morbidities should be integrated as part of the clinic baseline assessment of adult Nigerians attending rural hospitals to facilitate their early detection and institutionalization of appropriate preventive and therapeutic measures.

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eISSN: 1119-3077