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Open Access Highly Accessed Original research

Prevalence and determinants of obesity - a cross-sectional study of an adult Northern Nigerian population

Kolawole W Wahab1*, Mahmoud U Sani2, Bashir O Yusuf3, Maruf Gbadamosi1, Akeem Gbadamosi2 and Mahmoud I Yandutse4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria

2 Department of Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Kano state, Nigeria

3 Department of Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, Katsina state, Nigeria

4 Department of Chemical Pathology, Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, Katsina state, Nigeria

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International Archives of Medicine 2011, 4:10  doi:10.1186/1755-7682-4-10

Published: 1 March 2011



Obesity is assuming an epidemic dimension globally. It is important to appreciate factors associated with the disease so that a holistic approach can be taken in tackling the rising burden. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity and the factors independently associated with obesity in an urban Nigerian population.


A cross-sectional study of 300 healthy adult subjects was conducted in the urban city of Katsina, northern Nigeria. Relevant sociodemographic and clinical information were obtained. Screening for obesity was done using the Body Mass Index while relevant laboratory investigations were conducted. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the predictors of obesity.


Overweight and obesity was found in 53.3% and 21.0% respectively with a significantly higher prevalence in females compared to males (overweight: 62.0% vs 41.9%, p < 0.001; obesity: 29.8% vs 9.3%, p < 0.001). In univariate analysis, the odds of obesity were higher in women and in the presence of hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia and hyperuricaemia. However, in multivariate analysis, factors independently associated with obesity were female sex (OR 6.119, 95% CI 2.705-13.842, p < 0.001), hypercholesterolaemia (OR 2.138, 95% CI 1.109-4.119, p = 0.023) and hyperuricaemia (OR 2.906, 95% CI 1.444-5.847, p = 0.003).


There is a high prevalence of obesity in northern Nigeria and women are significantly more affected. The high prevalence is independently associated with female sex, hypercholesterolaemia and hyperuricaemia. Public health education is urgently needed in order to reduce this burden and prevent other non-communicable cardiovascular disorders.