Abstract P111: Obesity Prevalence Soars among Urban Middle-class in Bangladesh
Background: Bangladeshi adults are at risk for obesity as a result of increased nutritional intake, spurred by high economic growth in the past decades. Available data pertain to rural and urban-poor populations and may underestimate the burden of obesity among the affluent class.
Methods: The sample included adults who were ≥ 30 years and were residing in a middle-class neighborhood in the capital of Bangladesh. Research teams, comprised of trained nurses and research assistants, enrolled participants following a multi-stage cluster-random procedure. Research assistants conducted face-to-face interviews with standardized questionnaires to collect data on demography, lifestyle, chronic diseases, and barriers to physical activity and healthy-eating. Nurses performed physical measurements (e.g., height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure) according to standard protocols. Analysis included 358 participants (out of 402 surveyed) for whom questionnaire data and physical measurements were available.
Results: Participants’ mean age and body mass index (BMI) were 49.5 years (standard deviation, SD: 12.7) and 26.9 kg/m2 (SD: 4.8), respectively. Among the 358 participants, 49.2% were women, 82.7% were married, 47.5% were employed, and 18.7% reported high socio-economic status. Overall, 20.4% had generalized obesity (BMI: ≥ 30 kg/m2) and 57.2% had centripetal obesity (waist circumference: male > 90 cm; female > 80 cm). Female sex and higher socio-economic status were significantly (p-values <0.05) associated with both general (odds ratio, OR: 3.0 & 1.8 respectively) and centripetal obesity (OR: 8.6 & 3.0 respectively). Additionally, regular walking (OR=0.5) was significantly associated with generalized obesity only, whereas having arthritis (OR=1.8) and hypertension (OR=1.8) were significantly associated with centripetal obesity only. Of physical activity barriers, the most prevalent were lack of affordable exercise facilities (39.6%) and lack of information as to how to increase physical activity (38.2%). Of healthy-eating barriers, the most prevalent were lack of affordability of healthy foods (38.3%) and inaccessibility to healthy foods (25.4%).
Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity, especially centripetal obesity, is alarmingly high among the urban middle-class in Bangladesh. Lifestyle interventions targeting barriers to exercise and healthy-eating are necessary, particularly for women since they are disproportionately affected.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.