Obesity Phenotype among a Population of Market Traders in Fiji Islands

Author(s): Alisi Ratumaiyale, Shofeen Begum, Gina Beer, Irinieta Macunaqio, Isimeli Tukana, Venasio Ramabuke and Ayodele Akinremi

Background: Obesity continues to be a major health burden in South Pacific Islands countries are they account for the top 10 countries with the highest obesity rates globally. Currently Fiji Islands stands at 24th nation with highest obesity rate. High obesity rate is believed to be contributing to the rising chronic noncommunicable disease. However, obesity seems to differ by work types, especially those involving sedentary and stressful task as seen among market traders. Using a cross-sectional survey, this study investigated obesity profile among market traders in Suva, Fiji. Methods: One hundred and eighty-nine participants from Nasouri and Suva markets were assessed for general and abdominal obesity using body mass index (BMI), percent body fat (PBF), waist circumference (WC), waist-hip-ratio (WHR) and waist-height ratio (WHtR) using standard procedure. Obesity was defined as BMI (>30 kg/m2); PBF (Male: >25%; Female: >35%); WC (Male: >102 cm; Female>88 cm); WHR (Male>1.0; Female >0.8) and WHtR (>0.5). Results: Prevalence of overweight and obesity using BMI were 32% and 45% respectively among study participants (Male: 48%). Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures are 131.7(sd:17) mmHg and 82.3(sd:11) mmHg; mean anthropometric indices: BMI (29.8; 95% CI: 28.9, 30.8), WC (100.9 ± 15 cm), WHR (1.01 ± 0.83), WHtR (0.61 ± 0.09). Female traders had significantly higher PBF (38.3% vs. 27.7%) and WHtR (0.64 vs. 0.58); while males had significantly higher weight (82.9 vs. 81.6 kg). Obesity was associated with restrictive lung impairment (p=0.002) and hypertension (p=0.006). BMI was positively correlated with WC (r=0.75), WhtR (r=0.73), PBF (r=0.52); but inversely correlated with WHR (r=-0.07). 17% of the traders had normal BMI but also had abdominal obesity; and 27% had normal PBF and abdominal obesity. Conclusion: Prevalence of obesity among market traders (45%) is higher than that of general population (32%). Proportion of traders with normal BMI and abdominal obesity is also high. This highlights the need to incorporate indices of abdominal obesity in obesity assessment. This population could potentially benefit from targeted obesity education and prevention effort.


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