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Obes Res. 1995 Sep;3 Suppl 2:77s-87s.

Prevalence and secular trends in obesity in Pacific and Indian Ocean island populations.

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  • 1International Diabetes Institute, Caulfield, Victoria, Australia.


Surveys conducted in 10 Pacific island populations and in the multiethnic populations of Mauritius and Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean have provided data on the prevalence of obesity, potential etiological factors and medical hazards associated with obesity. The results indicate that the prevalence of obesity (by body mass index (BMI) in some of these populations is among the highest in the world. Obesity related to degree of modernization is more common in urban than in rural locations and tends to be found more often in women. In two populations where longitudinal data were available, there were dramatic increases in prevalence over relatively short time periods. Obesity contributed to the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and was associated with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in all populations, but no relationship could be found with total mortality in three ethnic groups for whom data were available. A genetic susceptibility to obesity combined with social pressures that favor high energy intakes and reduced physical activity are believed to be important in these populations. The challenge for the future lies in developing culturally appropriate programs for preventing obesity and thus reducing associated morbidity, while continuing to research its behavioral and genetic determinants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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