Lifestyle factors associated with obesity among patients attending a primary care clinic in Nigeria; The role of the family physician.
Introduction: The study was done to determine the association between lifestyle factors and obesity among the Family Medicine clinic attendees of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). It is a well-known fact that there is a global increase in the prevalence of obesity especially in the developing countries. This unfortunate trend is associated with the proliferation of several preventable lifestyle-related disease conditions like Diabetes Mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. However, there is dearth of information with regards to the relationship between obesity and specific lifestyle factors including diet and exercise. The latter information would enable Family Physicians identify specific areas of intervention in the management of obesity, with a view to curbing the associated potentially life-threatening diseases associated with obesity.
Materials and methods: A case-control study of three hundred and eighty randomly selected patients from 18-64 years of age, attending the Family Medicine Clinic was carried out. Using the systematic sampling technique, one hundred and ninety obese patients were recruited with an equal number of controls adequately matched for age and sex. The instrument used for data collection was an interviewer-administered, pretested structured questionnaire containing sections on the respondents' sociodemographic characteristics, anthropometric measurements and specific lifestyle activities. Data was collected and analysed using the SPSS version 16 software; means and percentages were displayed and appropriate 2-tailed tests of statistical significance were used set at <0.05.
Results: In the obese group, 56 respondents were female while 134 were male; in the control group, 54 respondents were female and 136 were male. The difference was not significant. Significant association was found between obesity and social class (p<0.0001), marital status (p=0.004) and religion (p=0.039). Most of the obese respondents ate <3 meals/day and this was statistically significant (p< 0.0001); similarly, the obese respondents took significantly fewer portions of fruits than the control group (p= 0.0005).however, skipping breakfast was not significantly associated (p=0.652). Other significant associations with obesity include increased alcohol consumption, decreased exercise duration and prolonged television viewing.
Conclusion: The result of this study suggests that significant association exists between obesity and the number of meals eaten per day, fruit intake, alcohol consumption, physical exercises and duration of television viewing.