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The Association of Nutrition Behaviors and Physical Activity with General and Central Obesity in Caribbean Undergraduate Students

Citation

Wright, Melecia J.; Adair, Linda S.; James, Caryl; Amuleru-Marshall, Omowale; Peltzer, Karl; Pengpid, Supa; & Samuels, T. Alafia (2015). The Association of Nutrition Behaviors and Physical Activity with General and Central Obesity in Caribbean Undergraduate Students. Pan American Journal of Public Health, 38(4), 278-285. PMCID: PMC6634991

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related factors in a crosssectional, observational study of Caribbean students using the results of three recent surveys of health behavior among undergraduates in Barbados, Grenada, and Jamaica.
METHODS: A total of1 578 Caribbean undergraduate students from Barbados, Grenada, and Jamaica (ages 18-30 years) completed questionnaires and had physical measurements recorded. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for the association of nutrition behaviors with prevalence of obesity (body mass index > 30 kg/m(2) ); elevated waist-to-height ratio (W/ht) (> 0.50); and high waist circumference (WC) (> 88 cm in females, > 102 cm in males). Models were adjusted for age, year in university, socioeconomic status, and sex.
RESULTS: There was a higher prevalence of obesity (13% versus 10%), high WC (21% versus 7%), and high W/ht (35% versus 25%) in females relative to males. Compared to females, males had reduced odds of obesity (OR 0.46), high WC (OR 0.22), and high W/ht (OR 0.61) (P < 0.05 for all). Both females (46%) and males (24%) reported high levels of physical inactivity. Fruit and vegetable consumption was low (approximately two servings per day). Many students reported avoiding fatty foods (40%); this behavior was associated with high W/ht (OR 1.68), obesity (OR 1.90), and high WC (OR 1.82) (P < 0.05 for all). Irregular breakfast consumption, age, and year of study were also positively associated with obesity. Physical activity was not significantly associated with any obesity measure.
CONCLUSIONS: There was a low prevalence of healthy behaviors and a high prevalence of obesity in this sample of Caribbean young adults.

URL

http://iris.paho.org/xmlui/handle/123456789/18376

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2015

Journal Title

Pan American Journal of Public Health

Author(s)

Wright, Melecia J.
Adair, Linda S.
James, Caryl
Amuleru-Marshall, Omowale
Peltzer, Karl
Pengpid, Supa
Samuels, T. Alafia

PMCID

PMC6634991