Prevalence and Perception of Obesity Among Sub-Saharan Africans in Korea
There is a dearth of obesity study among sub-Saharan African immigrants in Seoul, Korea. We investigated the prevalence and perception of obesity among this population. A cross-sectional study involving 211 immigrants aged 20 years and above from sub-Saharan Africa was carried out, using a structured questionnaire. Obesity (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m²) was calculated as the primary outcome variable. The overall prevalence of obesity was 27.0% (men 22.6% and women 36.8%). In a logistic regression analysis adjusting for age, obesity was significantly associated with increased duration of residence. Participants were 4.03 (95% CI 1.63–9.94) more likely to disagree than agree that obesity is a sign of wealth and that it gives respect. There is an urgent need to assess the possible factors predisposing sub-Saharan Africans to obesity and interventions should be designed targeting their lifestyle modification for healthy weight.
KeywordsObesity Immigrants Perception Sub-Saharan Africa
We thank the Nigerian embassy in Seoul for endorsing the study and participating, the church leaders and the study participants for making this study possible. We are also grateful to Alaeze Ogbonna and Lydia Asante for helping in recruitment and taking measurements of the participants.
All authors contributed to the study. Writing of manuscript: Ijeoma Alaeze. Review of discussion, development of questionnaire: Sungsoo Chun. Statistical analysis and research design: Mieun Yun. Development of the basic concept and theory, methodology, guide in the writing process and editing: Maxine Newell.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The research was approved by the Sahmyook University Institutional Review Board and provided in accordance with the declaration of Helsinki.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participant included in the study.
- 1.Ng M, Fleming T, Robinson M, Thomson B, Graetz N, Margono C, et al. Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2014;384(9945):766–81.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 2.Adderley-Kelly B. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among undergraduate health sciences students. Official J Assoc Black Nurs Fac High Educ. 2007;18(2):46–50.Google Scholar
- 4.El-Hazmi M, Warsy A. Relationship between age and the prevalence of obesity and overweight in Saudi population. Bahrain Med Bull. 2002;24(2):1–7.Google Scholar
- 9.Cawley J. The economics of obesity. Natl Bur Econ Res Reporter. 2013;2013(4):7–10.Google Scholar
- 16.Korean Statistical Information Service. http://kosis.kr/statisticsList/statisticsList_01List.jsp?vwcd=MT_ZTITLE&parentId=A#SubCont.
- 17.World Health Organization. Definition of key terms. 2013 http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/guidelines/arv2013/intro/keyterms/en/.
- 19.Finucane MM, Stevens GA, Cowan MJ, Danaei G, Lin JK, Paciorek CJ, et al. National, regional, and global trends in body-mass index since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 960 country-years and 9.1 million participants. Lancet. 2011;377(9765):557–67.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 35.Mikolajczyk RT, Maxwell AE, El Ansari W, Stock C, Petkeviciene J, Guillen-Grima F. Relationship between perceived body weight and body mass index based on self-reported height and weight among university students: a cross-sectional study in seven European countries. BioMed Cent Public Health. 2010;10(1):40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 38.Kennedy S, McDonald JT, Biddle N. The healthy immigrant effect and immigrant selection: evidence from four countries. Soc Econ Dimensions Aging Popul Res Pap. 2006;2006:164.Google Scholar
- 39.Domnich A, Panatto D, Gasparini R, Amicizia D. The “healthy immigrant” effect: does it exist in Europe today? Italian J Public Health. 2012;9(3):41.Google Scholar