Obesity is fast becoming an endemic disease associated with various other complications due to nutritional imbalance. The study was set up to assess the plasma levels of glucose, cholesterol and selected electrolytes in obese and normo-weight individuals. The weights and heights of healthy individuals were measured and the body mass indices (BMI) calculated in kg/m2. Individuals with BMI> 30 were considered obese while those with BMI values within 18.5-24.9 were considered normo-weight. Fifteen normal weight and fifteen obese individuals were selected. Blood samples were collected using standard clinical methods and the cholesterol, random blood sugar (RBS), chloride and sodium levels were estimated from the plasma using standard colorimetry techniques. The results were analyzed using one way analysis of variance and Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Results showed that the BMI, plasma cholesterol and glucose levels of obese individuals were significantly (p<0.05) higher than that of normo-weight individuals while no significant (p < 0.05) differences exist in the plasma chloride, sodium and potassium levels of obese individuals as compared to normoweight individuals. The BMI in obese individuals was positively related to the cholesterol and RBS levels while inversely related to the chloride, sodium and potassium levels. Obesity is characterised by high plasma levels of cholesterol and RBS and lower plasma levels of sodium, chloride and potassium.
Keywords: Obesity, body mass index, cholesterol