Prevalence and risk factors associated with obesity in the elderly in Barbados.


This article’s objective is to examine the epidemiology of obesity in the urban elderly population of Barbados. A random sample of adults >/= 60 years underwent comprehensive interviews and measurement of their weight, height, and waist circumference (WC). Outcomes of interest were obesity (body mass index [BMI] > 30 kg/m2), high-risk WC (men >/= 102 cm; women >/= 88 cm), and high risk of disease comorbidity (from BMI and WC criteria). Total, 1,508 persons participated (80% response). Women had higher rates of obesity (31% vs. 11.9%), high-risk WC (61.9% vs. 13.9%), and disease co-morbidity risk (51.1% vs. 17.5%) compared to men. Multivariate regression confirmed female gender as an independent predictor of outcomes (p < 0.001). Other predictors were less consistent: self-reported fair/poor health status and eating two (vs. three) meals daily were associated with obesity, whereas semiprofessional occupation and unmarried status predicted high-risk WC. Obesity is highly prevalent among elderly Barbadians. Public health interventions must target this group, particularly women.

Journal of aging and health