Introduction Obesity has become a threat to public health, as the epidemic is not confined to developed countries but is affecting many developing ones.
Objectives To estimate overweight and obesity prevalence and their association with some social characteristics in a population older than 18 years of age.
Methods The survey was conducted from July 2005 to January 2007 in Putignano, Bari, Apulia. A systematic random sample of 2301 subjects from the list of records maintained by general practitioners was drawn. Subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding sociodemographic characteristics and life styles, underwent anthropometric measures and liver echography. A fasting blood sample was drawn. A quantile regression model was fitted to the data (conditional quantiles: 0.47 overweight and 0.83 obesity) with 500 bootstrapped replications.
Results Overall prevalence of overweight was 50.1% (male 59.5%, females 14.6%) whereas obesity prevalence was 16.1% (male 18.0%, females 14.6%). Overweight and obesity steady raised with age. Overweight was associated positively with age at enrolment, being a male, number of household members, daily alcohol intake, married status and high socio-economic status. Obesity was associated positively with age at enrolment, being a male and daily alcohol intake.
Conclusion There is little doubt that socio-cultural and life-style factors operate to influence overweight and obesity but it is important to investigate the factors and their interaction on obesity as well as the pathway linking them. This approach may support the development and implementation of effective public health strategies.
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