Background: To report the overall and regional prevalence of obesity/overweight in Taiwan and to study its associated risk factors.
Methods: A total of 3046 adults > or = 20 years of age collected in National Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan, 1993-1996.
Results: Prevalence rates of overweight and obesity were 21.1 and 4.0% under the current WHO definition. The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity, using the Taiwanese definition (BMI = 24-26.99 kg/m(2) and > or = 27 kg/m(2), respectively), were 22.9 and 10.5% for males and 20.3 and 13.2% for females, respectively. The highest prevalence rates of obesity were found in the mountainous areas. In addition to age and residing location, education level in women and metabolic equivalent (MET) score and alcohol consumption in men were correlates of obesity. Effects of nutrition/health-related behaviors might be in part explained by education level and residing location of the subjects.
Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity defined by WHO criteria among people in Taiwan was moderate, with considerable regional variation. The regional differences in obesity prevalence could not be completely accounted for by the sociodemographic and lifestyle factors studied.