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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010 Apr;7(4):1670-80. doi: 10.3390/ijerph7041670. Epub 2010 Apr 13.

Obesity in Tibetans aged 30-70 living at different altitudes under the north and south faces of Mt. Everest.

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  • 1Section for Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Oslo, Frederik Holsts hus, Ulleval terrasse, Kirkeveien 166, 0450 Oslo, Norway.


Risk factors for chronic diseases in Tibetans may be modified due to hypobaric hypoxia. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of obesity at varying altitudes of 1,200, 2,900 and 3,700 meters above sea-level in Tibet and Nepal; to estimate the effect of altitude on body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). Three cross-sectional studies with simple random sampling were performed on 617 men and women. BMI, WC and WHtR decreased with increasing altitude. It is likely that the physical conditions such as low temperatures and low oxygen levels have a direct catabolic effect.


BMI; Everest; Nepal; Tibet; Tibetans; WHtR; obesity; waist circumference

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