Objectives: This study documented the prevalence of and cardiovascular risk factors associated with obesity and undernutrition in the Gambia.
Methods: Adults (> or =15 years; N = 5373) from rural and urban areas completed a questionnaire; their height, weight, and waist and hip circumferences were measured, and their cardiovascular risk factors were assessed.
Results: Prevalence of undernutrition (body mass index < 18 kg/m(2)) was 18.0%; all strata of society were affected. Prevalence of obesity (body mass index > or =30 kg/m(2)) was 4.0% but was higher (32.6%) among urban women 35 years or older. Cardiovascular risk factors were more prevalent among obese participants.
Conclusions: Undernutrition coexists with obesity, demonstrating a "double burden of disease." Differential interventions should focus on high-risk groups; prevention needs a multisectorial approach.