Obesity in young-adult Nigerians: variations in prevalence determined by anthropometry and bioelectrical impedance analysis, and the development of % body fat prediction equations

Int Arch Med. 2012 Jul 20;5(1):22. doi: 10.1186/1755-7682-5-22.


Background: Overweight/obesity is a growing global public health concern. The variations in the prevalence of overweight/obesity, defined by Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist Circumference (WC), Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR), Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHpR) and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), were studied and a prediction equation for % body fat (%BF) developed.

Methods: A total of 1584 subjects (56.4% males) were recruited for the study. Data on age, gender, height, weight, hip circumference and WC were collected from the subjects using standard protocols. BMI, WHtR and WHpR were derived using standard equations. %BF was measured using a BIA device (Omron BF-400). Appropriate statistical tools were used for the data analysis.

Results: The prevalence of overweight/obesity in the population was 28.4% (36.3% for males; 22.6% for females) (BIA); 20.7% (17.5% for males; 24.8% for females) (BMI); 7.5% (1.3% for males; 16.1% for females) (WC); 2.9% (4.3% for males; 1.2% for females) (WHpR); and 15.4% (14.8% for males; 16.2% females) (WHtR). Taking BIA as the reference point, WC misclassified overweight/obesity the most for males (35%), while for the females, WHpR misclassified both disorders the most (21.4%). Correlation studies showed that only BMI correlated significantly, albeit weakly, with %BF among the males, whereas all the anthropometric measures, but WHpR correlated significantly with % body fat in females. Two prediction equations for %BF were generated, and %BF predicted with the two equations correlated significantly (P < 0.001) with that measured by BIA.

Conclusion: The prevalence of overweight/obesity in this population vary widely depending on the definition used. The developed prediction equations could be useful in resource-poor settings, but require validation.