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Niger J Clin Pract. 2011 Apr-Jun;14(2):212-8. doi: 10.4103/1119-3077.84019.

Obesity in adult Nigerians: a study of its pattern and common primary co-morbidities in a rural Mission General Hospital in Imo state,South-Eastern Nigeria.

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Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria and visiting Consultant Family Physician, St. Vincent De Paul Hospital, Amurie- Omanze, Nigeria.



This study was generally aimed at determining the prevalence and pattern of obesity using body mass index (BMI) criterion and specifically screening for its common primary co-morbidities among adult Nigerians attending a rural Mission General Hospital in Imo state, South-Eastern Nigeria.


A descriptive study was carried out from June 2008 to May 2009. A total of 2156 consecutive new adult patients aged 18-90 years were screened for obesity using the BMI criterion, and 129 patients had BMI ≥ 30 kg/m² and met the inclusion criteria. The data collected included age, sex, marital status, education, occupation, social class, weight, height and blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and lipid profile.


The prevalence of obesity was 6.0%, with class I obesity (86.1%) being the most common pattern. Hypertension (16.3%) was the most common primary co-morbidity; others included low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (21.7%), high low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (9.3%), high total cholesterol (7.8%), high triglyceridemia (4.7%) and diabetes mellitus (3.9%).


This study has shown that obesity and its primary co-morbidities are emerging as a serious health problem among the study population, with class I obesity being the most common pattern and hypertension being the most common primary co-morbidity. Anthropometric determination of obesity and screening for its common primary co-morbidities should be integrated as part of the clinic baseline assessment of adult Nigerians attending rural hospitals to facilitate their early detection and institutionalization of appropriate preventive and therapeutic measures.

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