Obesity in adult Nigerians: a study of its prevalence and common primary co-morbidities in a semi-urban Mission General Hospital in South-Eastern Nigeria.
Background: Obesity is socially and culturally acceptable in Nigeria and therefore not usually recognized as a medical problem. This study is aimed
at determining the prevalence of obesity using body mass index(BMI) criterion and its common primary comorbidities
among adult Nigerians attending a semiurban Mission General Hospital in Imo state, South- Eastern, Nigeria. Methods: A descriptive study using primary data collection technique was carried out from October 2007 to December 2008. A total of 9296 consecutive new adult patients aged 18-88 years were screened for obesity using BMI criterion and 684 patients who had BMI=30 kg/m2 met the inclusion criteria. The data collected included age, sex, marital status, education, occupation, weight(kilogram), height(meters), and
blood pressure; fasting blood sugar and fasting lipid profile. Obese patients' perception of their obese condition and knowledge of lifestyle modification were
also assessed. Results: Six hundred and eighty-four(7.4%) out of a total of 9296 patients screened for obesity were obese.
Hypertension(18.4%) was the commonest primary comorbidity, others include high triglyceridaemia(9.2%), high total cholesterol(8.2%), high LDLcholesterol( 6.0%) and diabetes mellitus(3.4%). One hundred and one(14.8%) obese patients were aware of their obese condition and majority, 72(71.3%) of them were informed of their obese condition by healthcare professionals. Forty seven(46.5%) of those who were aware of their obese condition had knowledge of lifestyle modification. However, majority(72.3%) of those who had knowledge of lifestyle modification demonstrated low knowledge level of lifestyle modification. Conclusion: This study has shown the existence of obesity and its common primary co-morbidities among the study population. Anthropometric determination of obesity and screening for its common primary comorbidities should be integrated as part of clinic baseline assessment of adult Nigerians attending semiurban hospitals. Those who had obesity-related primary co morbidities should become secondary target for risk reduction therapy and appropriate management.
Adult, Obesity, Prevalence, Comorbidities, Semi-urban, Hospital, Nigeria.