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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 9;9(4):e94433. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094433. eCollection 2014.

Association between obesity and selected morbidities: a study of BRICS countries.

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International Institute for Population Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai, India.



Over the past few decades, obesity has reached epidemic proportions, and is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic diseases and disability. There is little evidence on obesity related co-morbidities in BRICS countries. The first objective is to examine the factors associated with overweight and obesity in four of the five BRICS countries (China, India, Russia and South Africa). The second is to examine the linkage of obesity with selected morbidities.


We used data from the Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in China, India, Russia and South Africa during 2007-10. The morbidities included in the analysis are Hypertension, Diabetes, Angina, Stroke, Arthritis and Depression.


The prevalence of obesity was highest in South Africa (35%) followed by Russia (22%), China (5%) and India (3%). The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher in females as compared to males in all the countries. While the wealth quintile was associated with overweight in India and China, engaging in work requiring physical activity was associated with obesity in China and South Africa. Overweight/obesity was positively associated with Hypertension and Diabetes in all the four countries. Obesity was also positively associated with Arthritis and Angina in China, Russia and South Africa. In comparison, overweight/obesity was not associated with Stroke and Depression in any of the four countries.


Obesity was statistically associated with Hypertension, Angina, Diabetes and Arthritis in China, Russia and South Africa. In India, obesity was associated only with Hypertension and Diabetes.

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