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Abstract

Purpose: Obesity and overweight are associated with variety of conditions detrimental to health, wellbeing and longevity. Waist circumference and waist to hip ratio are indicators of risk of central adiposity while body mass index is an indicator of overall risk of obesity. Body mass index has been traditionally used as a standard for determining overweight and obesity. This study was designed to determine the relationship between waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and body mass index among female undergraduates of a Nigerian University. Also prevalence of obesity based on waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and body mass index was explored. Methods: Three hundred and sixty four apparently healthy subjects were recruited for the study using a cross-sectional simple random sampling technique. Waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and body mass index were determined using standard methods. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the physical characteristics of the participants. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to analyze the relationship between waist circumference, waist to hip and body mass index. Results: The mean age, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and body mass index of the participants were 22.5 (±2.20) years, 79.36 (±10.4) cm, 0.81 (±0.06), and 22.48 (±4.50) kg/m2 respectively. The prevalence of obesity based on body mass index, waist circumference and waist to hip ratio was found to be 6.3%, 17.6% and 25.5% respectively. Significant relationship was found between waist circumference and body mass index (r = 0.81; p< 0.001), and between waist to hip ratio and body mass index (r = 0.25; p< 0.001). Conclusions: Body mass index was related to waist circumference, as well as to waist to hip ratio. The prevalence of obesity based on waist to hip ratio was highest among female undergraduates in a Nigerian university. Awareness on the importance of waist to hip ratio as indicator of risk of obesity should be created among female undergraduates in Nigerian Universities and by extension among the women population in general.

Author Bio(s)

Adamu A. Rufa'i, PhD, MSc, MNSP, is a Head of Department and a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy in the College of Medical Sciences at the University of Maiduguri. He is also an Honorary Physiotherapist at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

Karimah I. Sajoh, BMR, MNSP, is a graduate of Physiotherapy from the University of Maiduguri and currently pursuing her Master's program in Neurophysiotherapy at Bayero University Kano. She is a licensed Physiotherapy practitioner in Nigeria.

Adewale L. Oyeyemi, PhD, MSc, MNSP, is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy in the College of Medical Sciences at the University of Maiduguri. He is also the coordinator of Physiotherapy postgraduate program in the College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri.

Abdullahi S. Gwani, MSc, BSc, is a Lecturer in Anatomy in the College of Medical Sciences at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Clinical Anatomy at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in Nigeria.

Acknowledgements

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all participants for voluntarily taking part in this study.

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