High Prevalence of Obesity Found Among Adults in Spain

Older age, lower education levels are associated with higher frequency of obesity

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of obesity is high in the adult population of Spain and is affected by sociodemographic factors, including age and education levels, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in Obesity Reviews.

J.L. Gutiérrez-Fisac, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, and colleagues investigated the prevalence of general obesity and abdominal obesity (AO) among adults in Spain on the basis of weight, height, and waist circumference. Data were collected for 12,883 non-institutionalized participants of the Study on Nutrition and Cardiovascular Risk in Spain (ENRICA, 2008 to 2010), aged 18 years and older. Trained interviewers performed anthropometry under standardized conditions. Body mass indices of 25 to 29.9 kg/m² and ≥30 kg/m² were considered overweight and obese, respectively, and AO was defined as having a waist circumference of >102 cm in men and >88 cm in women.

The investigators found that the overall prevalence of obesity and AO was 22.9 percent (24.4 percent in men and 21.4 percent in women) and 36 percent (32 percent men and 39 percent women), respectively. Obesity and AO frequency increased with age, and were seen in 35 and 62 percent, respectively, of individuals aged 65 years and older. There was a decline in AO and obesity frequency with increasing education level. The Canary Islands and the south of Spain had very high prevalence of obesity.

"We conclude that the prevalence of obesity in Spain is very high; there are also important socioeconomic and geographic differences in the frequency of obesity," the authors write.

The ENRICA study was funded by Sanofi-Aventis.

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