Prevalence, Trends and associated socio-economic factors of obesity in South Asia

Ranil Jayawardena, Nuala M. Byrne, Mario J. Soares, Prasad Katulanda, Andrew P. Hills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Worldwide obesity levels have increased unprecedentedly over the past couple of decades. Although the prevalence, trends and associated socio-economic factors of the condition have been extensively reported in Western populations, less is known regarding South Asian populations. Methods: A review of articles using Medline with combinations of the MeSH terms: 'Obesity', 'Overweight' and 'Abdominal Obesity' limiting to epidemiology and South Asian countries. Results: Despite methodological heterogeneity and variation according to country, area of residence and gender , the most recent nationally representative and large regional data demonstrates that without any doubt there is a epidemic of obesity, overweight and abdominal obesity in South Asian countries. Prevalence estimates of overweight and obesity (based on Asian cut-offs: overweight ≥ 23 kg/m2, obesity ≥ 25 kg/m2) ranged from 3.5% in rural Bangladesh to over 65% in the Maldives. Abdominal obesity was more prevalent than general obesity in both sexes in this ethnic group. Countries with the lowest prevalence had the highest upward trend of obesity. Socio-economic factors associated with greater obesity in the region included female gender, middle age, urban residence, higher educational and economic status. Conclusion: South Asia is significantly affected by the obesity epidemic. Collaborative public health interventions to reverse these trends need to be mindful of many socio-economic constraints in order to provide long-term solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-414
Number of pages10
JournalObesity Facts
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

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    Jayawardena, R., Byrne, N. M., Soares, M. J., Katulanda, P., & Hills, A. P. (2013). Prevalence, Trends and associated socio-economic factors of obesity in South Asia. Obesity Facts, 6(5), 405-414. https://doi.org/10.1159/000355598