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Obes Facts. 2013;6(5):405-14. doi: 10.1159/000355598. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

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

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1
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

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/m², obesity ≥ 25 kg/m²) 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.

PMID:
24107686
PMCID:
PMC5644757
DOI:
10.1159/000355598
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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