Background/aim: The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing at an alarming rate and it is a manifestation of the epidemics of a sedentary lifestyle and excessive energy intake. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the population of the Province of Vojvodina, Serbia, and to examine the association between obesity and socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.
Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted in the Province of Vojvodina in 2006 involved 3 854 participants aged 20 years and over (1 831 men and 2 023 women). The study was a countinuation of the baseline study conducted in 2000 (n = 2 840, 1 255 men and 1 585 women). The main outcome measures were overweight and obesity (Body Mass Index - BMI > or = 25 kg/m2), sociodemographic factors, including nutrition habits--having breakfast everyday and television watching frequency.
Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity in both sexes in 2006 was 57.4% (35.7% were overweight and 21.7% obese). The prevalence of overweight was higher in men (41.1%) than in women (30.9%) (p < 0.001) while obesity was higher in women (23.10%) as compared to men (20.2%) (p = 0.035). For both sexes, overweight rates were highest at the age 60-69 (men 44.8% and women 39.1%) while obesity rates were peaked to men aged 50-59 (25.1%) and women aged 60-69 years (37.8%). Increasing ageing, males, rural population, single examinees, lower educational level, improved income, examinees that never/sometimes have breakfast and frequently watch TV were associated with obesity.
Conclusions: The population of Vojvodina, with 23.1% obese women and 20.2% obese men is one of severely affected European populations. High prevalence of obesity requires urgent public health action. Healthy lifestyle, balanced nutrition with low energy intake and increased physical activity have to be promoted within a prevention strategy and obesity management.