Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, and is now prevalent in low-income and middle-income countries. This study sets out to determine the prevalence of obesity as well as its predictors in rural South-Western Nigeria. Cross-sectional descriptive survey of 416 participants aged 20 to 70 years in two rural communities in Remo North Local Government area of Ogun State, Nigeria was taken. Relevant clinical and demographic parameters were obtained. Participants were screened for generalized and central obesity, using standard protocol. The prevalence of overweight and generalized obesity was 21.4 and 10.5%, respectively in all the participants. Females had a higher frequency of generalized obesity than the males (p<0.001). Central obesity was significantly more prevalent among the female participants with three different criteria (p≤0.001). More participants were classified as centrally obese using waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) or waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) than waist circumference (WC). Predictors of central obesity were age, female gender, alcohol and cigarette smoking. The prevalence of obesity is high in rural communities of South-Western Nigeria. Compared to men, the chances of developing central obesity (defined as increased WC) increased by 11-fold among the women. Targeted aggressive healthy lifestyle intervention becomes necessary to prevent future cardiovascular disease.
Key words: Obesity, rural communities, cardiovascular disease.
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