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Trends in the prevalence of abdominal obesity and overweight in English adults (1993-2008)

Lookup NU author(s): Denise Howel


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The rising prevalence of generalized obesity is well documented, but less is known about trends in abdominal obesity. Levels of abdominal obesity and overweight are reported for adults in the Health Survey for England (HSE) by survey year and age for 1993–2008. HSE is a nationally representative cross-sectional population survey using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and measurement of waist circumference (WC) by nurse, allowing calculation of abdominal overweight and obesity (≥94 cm and ≥102 cm in men, and ≥80 cm and ≥88 cm in women). A total of 40,001 men and 46,397 women aged 18–67 provided data on WC in this period. Between 1993 and 2008 abdominal overweight rose from 44.9% to 62.3% in men, and from 46.6% to 66.8% in women, while abdominal obesity rose from 19.2% to 35.7% in men, and from 23.8% to 43.9% women. However, the rates of increase over time in England appear to be slowing down: curves with a less than linear increase each year were a better fit to the data than a linear trend. There was some variation across the age range in the time trend in abdominal obesity and overweight, in that the absolute increases over time were slightly less for younger adults.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Howel D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Obesity

Year: 2012

Volume: 20

Issue: 8

Pages: 1750-1752

Print publication date: 19/05/2011

ISSN (print): 1930-7381

ISSN (electronic): 1930-739X

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/oby.2011.127


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