Determinants and consequences of obesity in adult Kuwaiti females
From the early fifties, the economic upheaval created by the oil boom brought rapid changes in the traditional life style of the Kuwaiti people that resulted in a more sedentary lifestyle with high food availability and overnutrition. This led to an increase in overweight and obesity, which has become a major public health problem. A representative random sample of 324 adult Kuwaiti females aged 20-60 years were selected in a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of obesity, its characteristics, determinants, contributing factors, and relation to other co-morbidity. The sample was drawn from health centre registration files between May 1996 to October 1997. Data was collected by using: a semi-structured questionnaire, anthropometric measurements, and biochemical analysis of blood samples. Thirty-nine percent of the participants were in the 30-39 year age group, 73% were married, and 56% were at the medium level of education. Fifty-six percent of the participants had a BMI ::: 30.0 and the lean BMI was 32.0. Of these, 56% had a medium level of education, 58% were working and 77% were married. The mean WHR and we were 0.87 and 96 cm respectively and there was linear relationship between we and age as well as maternal characteristics. Body fat was positively associated with age, BMI, waist circumference, and WHR. Eighty-five percent of those in 20.:.29, 87% of those in the 30-39 and 98% of the 40+ age group had more than 33% of their body weight as fat. Thirty-one percent of the participants had arthritis, 25% had hypertension, and 18% had diabetes mellitus. A quarter of the participants had borderline high, and 15% had high levels of serum cholesterol. Of these, over 60% had BMI ::: 30.0. Twenty-three percent had high LDL, 9% had low HDL, and 3% high levels of serum triglycerides. Multivariate analysis have shown that, after controlling for all the variables, that increase in age and returning to pre-pregnancy weight were the main independent contributing factors to the risk of obesity. Almost half the participants underestimated their weight status, and only 28% considered their actual weight to be appropriate for them. Furthermore, 61 % of the participants reported that they thought that their husbands would categorise their weight into categories less than their actual weight categories.