Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 kg /m2 or more that represents a risk to health (Han and Bchir, 2013).Obesity is undoubtedly one of the biggest medical problems of the 21st century. Regrettably, the problem affects children and adolescents. 10% of world’s school-aged children have an excess body weight and a quarter of these children are obese (see figure 1.1). Overweight and obesity are global public health problems because of their effect on individuals, families and communities (Alphonsus et al., 2014).
The prevalence of overweight and obesity among Polish adolescents is about 14% (Karolina and Dominik, 2013). The socio-demographic determinants of obesity among adults in the Nigerian population were female gender, marriage, low physical activity level, positive family history, urban area of residence and age ≥ 40 year (Ekpenyong and Akpan, 2013). An excess body weight can be the consequence of genetic factors, endocrine disorders or certain drugs. However, ‘simple obesity’ is the most common, a consequence of providing too much energy from food products in comparison to energy expenditure (caloric excess). Prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing in different populations, and is becoming a huge problem among occupational/professional groups that are perceived as preponderantly sedentary. An attendant acquisition or imposition of a lowered physical activity level and other lifestyle with such occupations may contribute to the development of obesity and overweight (Aryee et al., 2006).
1.1 Background of study
Obesity is a public health problem that has raised concern worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there will be about 2.3 billion overweight people aged 15 years and above, and over 700 million obese people worldwide in 2015 (WHO, 2009) but In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese. 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese. Most of the world’s populations live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016. Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016. Obesity is preventable. Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 (WHO, 2019).
WHO has also developed the “Global Action plan” for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases 2013-2020 which aims to achieve the commitments of the United Nation political declaration of non-communicable diseases (NCDS) which was endorsed by Heads of state and Government in September, 2011. The “Global Action plan” will contribute to progress on 9 global NCD targets to be attained by 2025, including a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDS by 2025 and a halt in the rise of global obesity to match the rates of 2010 (WHO, 2018).
Although a few developed countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany experienced a drop in the prevalence rate of obesity in the past decade, the prevalence of obesity continues to rise in many parts of the world, especially in the Asia Pacific region (Low et al., 2009). Obesity in elderly is considered one of the most serious public health challenges for all over the world. It is a complex; multifactorial disease arising from the interactions between genetic, environmental and behavioral factors together with other factors results in energy imbalance and promotes excessive fat deposition (Shebl et al., 2015). Obesity and overweight are as a result of energy imbalance over a period of time. Obesity can be said to be a global epidemic given the high prevalence in the world today. In fact, obesity is swiftly becoming a global epidemic, which is not restricted to the more “developed” countries. Obesity does not occur overnight (Ogunjimi, 2010).
Today’s lifestyle promotes the development of obesity. The lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle and energy-rich diet are the main causes of an excess body fat accumulation. Because of improper eating behaviors children consume an excess amount of energyand their diet is deficient in elements necessary for proper development. The examples of such bad eating habits are: snacking highly processed and calorie-rich foods between meals eating in front of the TV screen, skipping breakfasts, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, “eating out” frequently and “emotional eating”. Bad eating behaviors are crucial factors for the development of obesity. Eating habits are usually formed in early childhood and parents play a very important role in their development (Karolina and Dominik, 2013).
1.2 Statement of Problem
Obesity is considered a multivariate syndrome which can negatively affect the whole body functioning (WHO, 2005). It was previously common in highly developed countries, but in recent years a progressive increase is noticeable in developing countries (Villamor et al., 2004). They were also considered health conditions for adults; currently they are highly prevalent among children and adolescents (Wang, 2004).
According to Kenyan medical experts, Kenyans today are eating a fatter oilier diet than ever before, even as they rely more on personal and public vehicles to move even the shortest of distance. In urban areas, conveniences such as lifts and escalators have become a standard feature in all shopping malls making it unnecessary to walk up and down the stairs (Kimani and Okwemba, 2007). The current obesity pandemic reflects the profound changes that have taken place in the society over the last 20-30 years that have created an environment that promotes a sedentary lifestyle and the consumption of a high fat, energy dense diet (WHO, 2003; European Snacks Association, 2006; Popkin, 2006).
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The major aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of obesity and also find out the possible causes of obesity among adults in Akwa Ibom State using Body Mass Index (BMI) indication.
In order to achieve the stated aim, the following objectives were pursued to:
Estimate the prevalence of obesity among adults in Akwa Ibom State using Body Mass Index (BMI) indication.
Determine the possible causes of obesity and
Suggest the preventive measures to overcome obesity.
1.4 Significance of Study
Very little research has been done on the prevalence of obesity among adults in Akwa Ibom State. The impact of obesity on their lifestyles with excess adiposity risk, possible causes leading to overweight and obesity and prevention. Thus, the need to fill these voids has steered this project in the direction which it was taken in order to create awareness in the society.