Prevalence and correlates of abdominal obesity among adults in Uganda: Findings from a national cross-sectional, population based survey 2014 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1117 Public Health and Health Services 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1103 Clinical Sciences

Steven Ndugwa Kabwama, Barbara Kirunda, Gerald Mutungi, Ronald Wesonga, Silver K. Bahendeka, David Guwatudde

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Background: Overweight and obesity are associated with health complications the gravity of which, vary with the regional deposition of the excess fat. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is often used to measure obesity although is an inferior predictor of cardiovascular disease risk mortality and morbidity compared with measures of abdominal obesity. We analyzed data from Uganda's 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) STEPwise approach to surveillance of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) survey to estimate the prevalence of abdominal obesity and associated factors to provide information on the prevention and control of overweight and obesity. Methods: Data were collected using the WHO STEPS protocol. Waist measurement was taken using a non-stretchable standard tape measure mid-way between the lowest rib and iliac crest with the subject standing at the end of gentle expiration. Participants with waist circumference > 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women were classified as abdominally obese. We used weighted modified Poisson regression with robust error variance to estimate the prevalence of abdominal obesity and associated factors. Results: Of the 3676 participants, 432 (11.8%) were abdominally obese; with the prevalence higher among females 412 (19.5%) compared with males 20 (1.3%). Compared with males, female participants were more likely to be abdominally obese Adjusted Prevalence Rate Ratio (APRR) 7.59 [5.58-10.33]. Participants who were married or cohabiting APRR 1.82 [1.29-2.57] and participants who were separated or divorced APRR 1.69 [1.17-2.46] were more likely to be abdominally obese compared with those who had never married before. Compared with rural dwellers, participants from urban areas were more likely to be abdominally obese APRR 1.29 [1.09-1.53]. Compared with participants with normal blood pressure, those with elevated blood pressure were more likely to be abdominally obese APRR 1.83 [1.57-2.14].Compared with participants without any education, those with secondary education were more likely to be abdominally obese APRR 1.42 [1.12-1.78]. Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of abdominal obesity among adults in Uganda which puts many at risk of developing associated metabolic complications. These data provide useful information for developing interventions and formulation of policies for the control and prevention of abdominal obesity in Uganda.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalBMC Obesity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 3 2018



  • Abdominal obesity
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Uganda
  • WHO STEPs methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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