Age and gender based prevalence of obesity in residents of Punjab, India

Satinderjit Singh, Ravjit Kaur Sabharwal, Jagminder Kaur Bajaj, Indira R. Samal, Megha Sood


Background: Obesity is recognized as a chronic disease, associated with a variety of metabolic, cardiovascular and neurological complications. Prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide, more so in the developing countries. It is affecting both sexes and all age groups. Body mass index BMI along with presence and severity of obesity associated complications are used to identify, successively increasing stages of obesity. The present study aims to study prevalence of overweight, obesity (stage 0,1,2) and morbid obesity in adult residents of Punjab state in an effort to determine burden of this lifestyle disorder in different age groups and sexes, so that a comprehensive action plan can be designed to target appropriate group with specific preventive measures .

Methods: 1000 subjects were surveyed and labelled as non-obese, overweight, obese or morbid obese based on their BMI, presence and severity of obesity related complications. Point prevalence amongst different age groups of both sexes were determined and compared.

Results: In study population 41.5% subjects were non-obese, 15.9% were overweight, 29.4% were obese and 13.2% were morbidly obese. The prevalence of all the 3 conditions (overweight, obesity and morbid obesity) increased with increasing age in both sexes. The prevalence was more among females of all age groups than males for ‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’. But gender based difference narrowed down with increasing severity of disease, such that female to male ratio reversed (<1) for morbid obesity. Moreover, peak prevalence of overweight and obesity were attained little later in females as compared to males. However, for morbid obesity peak prevalence is seen in same age group (40-49 years) in both sexes.

Conclusions: Overweight and obesity are more prevalent among females of all age groups than males with peak prevalence achieved little later in females as compared to males. However, gender based differences in prevalence decreased as severity increased and morbid obesity was more prevalent among males than females.


Body mass index, Complications, Morbid obesity, Overweight, Peak prevalence, Punjabi population

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