Adolescent overweight and obesity is a public health concern globally, especially in lower- and middle- income countries where there is an additional burden of undernutrition. The prevalence of adolescent overweight/2obesity has increased markedly over the past three decades. The transition in dietary habits coupled with reduced physical activity has been blamed for the increasing trend. Overweight/obesity in adolescence is complicated by cardiometabolic, respiratory, musculoskeletal and psychosocial disorders. Additionally, adolescent obesity is a predictor of future development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders. The burden of cardiometabolic risk factors associated with adolescent overweight/obesity in Ghana is lacking, the project, therefore, was undertaken to add to the existing knowledge.
The study was undertaken in adolescent students of a tertiary institution in Ghana. Two hundred and one students consented to participate in the study. Questionnaires on sociodemographic characteristics, dietary and substance abuse habits were self-administered. Blood pressure, height, weight and waist circumference measures were performed and venous blood drawn for the determination of fasting serum total/LDL/HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Body mass indices were determined as the weight per square of their heights.
The prevalence of obesity was determined to be 15.81% generally, 27.71% in the females and 7.08% in the males. Diastolic blood pressure was the only cardiometabolic risk factor significantly associated with obesity in our study.
Overweight/obesity is common in Ghanaian adolescents, with the prevalence highest in the female population.