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Socioeconomic status and obesity in Abia State, South East Nigeria

Authors Chukwuonye II, Chuku A, Okpechi IG, Onyeonoro UU, Madukwe OO, Okafor GOC, Ogah OS

Received 23 February 2013

Accepted for publication 9 August 2013

Published 16 October 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 371—378

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S44426

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Innocent Ijezie Chukwuonye,1 Abali Chuku,2 Ikechi Gareth Okpechi,3 Ugochukwu Uchenna Onyeonoro,4 Okechukwu Ojoemelam Madukwe,5 Godwin Oguejiofor Chukwuebuka Okafor,6 Okechukwu Samuel Ogah5,7

1Division of Renal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, 2Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Nigeria; 3Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; 4Department of Community Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, 5Ministry of Health, Nnamdi Azikiwe Secretariat, 6Department of Community Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Nigeria; 7Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria


Background and objectives: Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease in developed and emerging economies. There is a paucity of data from Nigeria on the association between socioeconomic status and obesity. The aim of this study is to highlight that association in Abia State, South East Nigeria.
Material and method: This was a cross-sectional survey in South East Nigeria. Participating subjects were recruited from the three senatorial zones of Abia state. A total of 2,487 adults took part in the study. The subjects were classified based on their monthly income and level of educational attainment (determinants of obesity). Monthly income was classified into three groups: low, middle, and upper income, while educational level was classified into four groups: no formal education, primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Body mass index of subjects was determined and used for defining obesity. Data on blood pressure and other anthropometric measurements were also collected using a questionnaire, modified from the World Health Organization STEPwise Approach to Chronic Disease Risk Factor Surveillance.
Results: Overall, the prevalence of obesity in low, middle, and upper income groups was 12.2%, 16%, and 20%, respectively. The overall prevalence of obesity in individuals with no formal education, primary, secondary, and tertiary education was 6.3%, 14.9%, 10.5%, and 17.7%, respectively. Educational status was found to be significantly associated with obesity in women, but not in men, or in the combined group. However, level of income was observed to be significantly associated with obesity in men, women, and in the combined group.
Conclusion: Sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors are important determinants of obesity in our study population, and therefore may be indirectly linked to the prevalence and the outcomes of cardiovascular disease in Nigeria.

Keywords: obesity, body mass index, BMI, income, education, socioeconomic status, Naira (₦)

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