Obesity and undernutrition and cardiovascular risk factors in rural and urban Gambian communities

Am J Public Health. 2001 Oct;91(10):1641-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.10.1641.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gambia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Health*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health*