Introduction The prevalence of obesity has increased among adults living in developed or developing countries. In Brazil, obesity among adults reached at least 10% of population in 2008–2009. This study estimates the incidence and persistence of overweight or obesity in adults according to nutritional status at end of adolescence.
Methods Former and present self-reported anthropometric data come from VIGITEL 2006 to 2009 (acronym in Portuguese for System of Health Surveillance by Phone) and include 61 985 cases from individuals aged 21 to 39 years. Nutritional status was classified according to WHO systems. The RR for obesity was calculated according to level of education.
Results For individual with normal BMI at 20 years incidence of overweight is 40% among male and 30% among female. For individuals with pre-obese BMI at 20 years the incidence of obesity is 5.4 higher among male and 4.7 higher among females than that for normal BMI at 20 years. Persistence of overweight is estimated in 91% of males and 81% of females. For individuals with pre-obese BMI at 20 years the incidence of obesity is 5.4 higher for males and 4.7 higher for females than that for normal BMI at 20 years. Persistence of obesity from 20 years to present is about 60% among males and 49% among females. RR of present obesity among college degree vs <4 years of school education, both with normal BMI at 20 years, is 0.56 for males and 0.26 for females.
Conclusion Higher level of education is associated with a lower incidence and persistence of obesity among adults, especially among females.
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