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


Jayawardena, R and Byrne, NM and Soares, MJ and Katulanda, P and Hills, AP, Prevalence, trends and associated socio-economic factors of obesity in South Asia, Obesity facts, 6, (5) pp. 405-14. ISSN 1662-4025 (2013) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2013 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.1159/000355598


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/mē, obesity ≥ 25 kg/mē) 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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Byrne, NM (Professor Nuala Byrne)
UTAS Author:Hills, AP (Professor Andrew Hills)
ID Code:110648
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:41
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-08-08
Last Modified:2017-12-07
Downloads:26 View Download Statistics

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