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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


LAUX, Timothy S. et al. Prevalence of obesity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption by socioeconomic status among six communities in Nicaragua. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.3, pp.217-225. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the prevalence of noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk factors (overweight/obesity, tobacco smoking, and alcohol consumption) and identify correlations between these and sociodemographic characteristics in western and central Nicaragua. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of 1 355 participants from six communities in Nicaragua conducted in September 2007-July 2009. Demographic and NCD risk-related health behavior information was collected from each individual, and their body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, diabetes status, and renal function were assessed. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses, and (non-stratified and stratified) logistic regression models. RESULTS: Of the 1 355 study participants, 22.0% were obese and 55.1% were overweight/obese. Female sex, higher income, and increasing age were significantly associated with obesity. Among men, lifelong urban living correlated with obesity (Odds Ratio [OR] = 4.39, 1.18-16.31). Of the total participants, 31.3% reported ever smoking tobacco and 47.7% reported ever drinking alcohol. Both tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption were strikingly more common among men (OR = 13.0, 8.8-19.3 and 15.6, 10.7-22.6, respectively) and lifelong urban residents (OR = 2.42, 1.31-4.47 and 4.10, 2.33-7.21, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: There was a high prevalence of obesity/overweight across all income levels. Women were much more likely to be obese, but men had higher rates of tobacco and alcohol use. The rising prevalence of NCD risk factors among even the poorest subjects suggests that an epidemiologic transition in underway in western and central Nicaragua whereby NCD prevalence is shifting to all segments of society. Raising awareness that health clinics can be used for chronic conditions needs to be priority.

Keywords : Chronic disease; obesity; alcohol drinking; poverty; tobacco smoking; Nicaragua.

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