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Ann Afr Med. 2011 Apr-Jun;10(2):139-43. doi: 10.4103/1596-3519.82081.

Underweight, overweight and obesity in adults Nigerians living in rural and urban communities of Benue State.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria.



To assess the prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity among Nigerians aged 18-45 years, living in urban and rural settlements in one state in Nigeria.


Four hundred and thirty-five subjects between 18 and 45 years of age were recruited for height, weight and waist circumference (WC) measurements. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated (weight/height 2, kg/m 2 ); WHO criteria determined BMI and WC categories.


Based on BMI, about 2% of the study population was underweight, 22% was overweight and 4% was obese. There were more normal weight persons in rural than in urban settlement. About 40 and 30% of females in urban and rural settlement, respectively, were either overweight or obese. Based on WC of the sample population, 10.34% had increased risk for metabolic syndrome [action level I (defi ned as WC ≥94 cm in men and ≥80 cm in women)] and 2.8% had substantially increased risk [action level II (defi ned as WC ≥102 cm in men and ≥88 cm in women)]. At action level II, there was no obese male.


This study revealed that underweight, overweight and obesity exist in young adults, but overweight and obesity are more prevalent. Therefore, concerted efforts should be made to control this in young adults for their present well-being and to possibly avoid the risk of disease later in life.

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