Obesity and risk for hypertension and diabetes among Kenyan adults: Results from a national survey

Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Oct 8;100(40):e27484. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000027484.


Despite the anticipated growth in the global burden of obesity especially in low-income countries, limited data exist on the contribution of obesity to cardiometabolic diseases in Africa.We examined population-based samples of Kenyan adults who participated in the 2015 national chronic disease risk factor surveillance survey. Weight and height were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated and used as a measure for general obesity. Waist circumference (WC), a clinical measure of central obesity was also measured. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between obesity with hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia risk.Of the 4276 participants, the median (IQR) age was 36 (27-47) years, 41% were men. One-third (37%) of the participants were centrally obese, whereas 10% were generally obese. The odds for overweight and general obesity were highest among females, adults >40 years, and those in the highest wealth quartile. Central and general obesity, assessed by WC and BMI, were associated with hypertension and dyslipidemia but not diabetes for both sexes. Compared with adults of normal weight, individuals with a BMI of ≥30 kg/m2 had an odds ratio of 2.39 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.82-3.12) for hypertension and 2.24 (95% CI, 1.70-2.96) for dyslipidemia.Obesity prevalence is high in Kenya and is associated with hypertension and dyslipidemia but not diabetes. Our findings indicate an urgent need to develop public health interventions to address obesity and prevent the development of comorbid conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors