Prevalence of overall and central obesity among adolescent girls in Port Harcourt: a comparison of different methods

  • T Jaja
  • B Alex Hart
Keywords: adolescents, Girls, overall and central obesity


There is no universally accepted criterion for classification of overall weight status and central obesity in adolescents. Several criteria have been used which include that recommended by Centre for Disease control, World Health Organization and the International Obesity Task Force.
Aim: The study compared various methods for determination of overall obesity in adolescents using the BMI percentiles recommended by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) BMI Z score and determination of central obesity using the waist circumference (WC), Waist Hip Ratio (WHR) and Waist Height Ratio (WHtR).
Methods: The study subjects consisted of 1320 girls aged 10-19 years from randomly selected girl’s high school. Weight status to determine overall obesity was determined according to the CDC, IOTF and WHO criteria and central obesity determined using the WC, WHR, and WHtR. Comparison of methods was done and analysed.
Results: Prevalence of overall and central obesity varied with different methods. The prevalence of overall obesity was 106(8.02%), 69(5.22%) and 39(2.75%) using the CDC, WHO and IOTF criteria respectively. Prevalence of central obesity was 1.5%, 16.26%, 47.81% using the WC, WHtR, and WHR respectively. The agreement between criteria of WHO Z score and BMI Percentile was highest for overall obesity. (K=0.81). There was a statistically significant association between overall weight status and central obesity using the different criteria of determination of central obesity.
Conclusion: Prevalence of overall obesity and central obesity varied based on the methods used. The highest level of agreement for overall obesity determination was obtained between WHO Z score and BMI percentile compared to WHO Z score and IOTF criteria. Prevalence of central obesity increased significantly with overall obesity in study population.

Key words: adolescents, Girls, overall and central obesity


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eISSN: 0302-4660