The association of nutrition behaviors and physical activity with general and central obesity in Caribbean undergraduate students

SOURCE: Pan American Journal of Public Health
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.Wright, L.Adair, C.James, O.Amuleru-Marshall, K.Peltzer, S.Pengpid, T.A.Samuels
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8973
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/1654

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The aim of this article is 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. A total of 1 578 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 ? 30kg/m2); 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. 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. There was a low prevalence of healthy behaviors and a high prevalence of obesity in this sample of Caribbean young adults.