The prevalence of overweight and obesity in an adult Kuwaiti population in 2014

Elisabete Weiderpass, Edoardo Botteri, Joseph C. Longenecker, Abdullah Alkandari, Rihab Al-Wotayan, Qais Al Duwairi, Jaakko Tuomilehto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, Kuwait is ranked amongst the top countries in the world in obesity prevalence. This study aims to describe the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and various types of adiposity in Kuwaiti adults. Methods: This cross-sectional study of 3,915 Kuwaiti adults aged 18–69 years used the STEP-wise approach to surveillance of non-communicable diseases, a WHO Instrument for Chronic Disease Risk Factor Surveillance. We assessed demographic information, lifestyle, personal and family history of diseases and physical measurements (height, weight, waist, and hip circumferences). All participants with valid height and weight measurements (n = 3,589) were included in the present analysis. Overweight was defined as BMI 25–29.9 kg/m2 and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2. Results: Obesity prevalence was 40.3% [95% confidence interval, 38.6–42.0%] (men, 36.5%; women, 44.0%); and overweight prevalence was 37% [35.4–38.7%] (men, 42%; women, 32.1%). The median BMI was 28.4 kg/m2 among men and 29.1 kg/m2 among women. Obesity prevalence was directly associated with female sex, age, history of diabetes, and being married in both men and women; and was inversely associated with education level in women. The prevalence of elevated waist-to-hip ratio was 46.9% among men and 37.9% among women. Waist circumference, waist-hip and waist-height ratios were directly associated with diabetes in both men and women, and inversely associated with education level in women. Conclusion: Almost eight in ten Kuwaiti adults were overweight or obese. Urgent public health action is warranted to tackle the obesity epidemic in Kuwait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number449
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Issue numberJULY
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Body mass index
  • Kuwait
  • Middle East
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Prevalence
  • WHO STEPS survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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