Abdominal obesity in adolescent girls attending a public secondary school in Port Harcourt, Nigeria: prevalence and some factors associated with occurrence

  • T Jaja
  • B Alex-Hart
  • J Okagua


Background: Deposition of excess fat in the abdominal region is strongly associated with the metabolic disturbances thought to underlie many obesity related complications.

Aim: To determine the prevalence of abdominal obesity using waist circumference inadolescents' girls attending a public secondary school in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and to identify some risk factors associated with occurrence of abdominal obesity in subjects studied.

Methodology: A total of 1330 females aged between10 and 19 years were studied.  Data on biodata, dietary habits and measure of physical activity was obtained using a self-administered questionnaire. Anthropometry was taken and overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity determined using Body mass index percentiles and waist circumference percentiles for age and sex respectively. Logistic regression was used to evaluate some physical and behavioural factors associated with the development of abdominal obesity.

Results: Total of 20(1.5%) subjects had abdominal obesity. Mean age of girls studied was15.74±1.45 years while mean waist circumference was 72.26±7.17cm. Eighteen (90%) of subjects with abdominal obesity using waist circumference percentile were also overweight or obese using BMI percentile  estimation. Eighteen(7.5%) of all subjects with overweight or obesity had abdominal obesity compared to  only 2(0.2%) of those with normal weight. Physical inactivity, daily fruit consumption and watching of TV/Internet/Video games for =2hours /day were significantly associated with development of abdominal obesity.

Conclusion: Prevalence of abdominal obesity was low in this study compared to other studies; reduced physical activity and sedentary lifestyle identified as significant risk factors in these subjects as reported in other studies.

Keywords: Abdominal obesity, Adolescents, Girls, Risk factors


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eISSN: 0795-3038