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The Prevalence of Obesity as Indicated by BMI and Waist Circumference among Nigerian Adults Attending Family Medicine Clinics as Outpatients in Rivers State
Background: The prevalence of overweight and obesity in most developed countries and in urban areas of many less developed countries has been increasing markedly over the past twenty years. This study\'s aims were to determine the prevalence of obesity using BMI and waist circumference among Nigerian adults attending Family
Medicine Clinics as outpatients and to assess the relative associations with CVD risk factors.
Methods: Subjects, who all volunteered for this study, reported at the study centres after an overnight fast, to be weighed (in kg), for their heights (in metres), blood pressure and waist circumference (in cm) measured, and their venous blood samples taken for lipid studies and fasting blood glucose estimation. Results were analysed using SPSS for windows software (version 11) and Epi Info (version 6.04d). Results: The prevalence of obesity as determined by large waist circumference was 31.7% at the Okrika (rural)
centre and 16.9% at the Port Harcourt centre. It was 16.3% at the Okrika centre and 14% at the Port Harcourt centre, as determined by BMI = 30 kgm-2. Obesity as determined by BMI = 30 kgm-2 is more prevalent among young adults (< 40 years) in Port Harcourt than at Okrika. Obesity by both definitions is more prevalent among females than among males (p < 0.01) and more among subjects older than 40 years. Both indices of obesity appear to be significantly associated with CVD risk factors. Conclusion: Obesity in our environment is strongly associated with a family history of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. It is therefore not surprisingly more prevalent among females and older members of society. Healthier
eating and social habits, and increased physical activity need to be strongly encouraged.
Keywords: Waist circumference, BMI, Obesity,
Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 17 (3) 2008: pp. 340-345