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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 164-170

Lifestyle and genetic factors in the prevalence of adolescent underweight and obesity in an urban area in Nigeria

Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Medubi Leke Jacob
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-9906.141146

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Background: The rise in the prevalence of overweight and obesity has continued to elicit genuine public health concerns across different disciplines. This underscores the need for continuous monitoring of anthropometric indices of obesity and predisposing factors across populations of different age groups. Unfortunately, few studies have documented the prevalence of obesity in Nigerian adolescents. Materials and Methods: A cross-section of adolescents attending high school in Ilorin, the Capital of Kwara State, Nigeria, was recruited into this study; following informed consent, they were requested to fill-in questionnaires in order to obtain their sociodemographic and lifestyle information. Subsequently, each participant's anthropometric measurements were taken which included, body weight, standing height, waist and hip circumferences. Results: Analyses of our data reveal gender disparity in the prevalence of obesity among participants. Based on body mass index, 6% of adolescent girls are obese, and 8.5% are overweight, while obesity and overweight among adolescent boys are 2% and 2.5%, respectively. Underweight was 7% and 15% among female and male participants, respectively. However, using waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), central obesity among male and female subjects is as high as 26% (WHR = 0.9) and 30% (WHR = 0.84), respectively. Lifestyle-factors analysis reveals that at least 31% of obese participants do not engage in any physical exercise; only 12.5% of obese subjects reported that they did not consume soft drink at all. Our data reveal familial tendencies of obesity -31.58% of overweight and obese subjected reported obesity in their families; only 18.78% of underweight and normal-weight subjects reported the same in their families. Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity is higher among female adolescents compared to male adolescents among the study population in Ilorin, Nigeria. While underweight is 2 times higher among male adolescents, each condition requires imminent attention because each poses a potential risk factor for ill-health.

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