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Objectives

The purpose of the study was to analyze the temporal trend of obesity among Inuit in Greenland during 1993–2010 according to sex and relative social position.

Methods

Data (N = 5,123) were collected in cross-sectional health surveys among the Inuit in Greenland in 1993–1994, 1999–2001, and 2005–2010. Sociodemographic information was obtained by interview. Information on obesity (body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference) was obtained by clinical examination and in 1993–1994 by interview. Statistics included multiple linear regression and Univariate General Linear Models.

Results

Among men the prevalence of overweight (BMI 25–29.9) decreased while general obesity (BMI ≥ 30) did not change. Central obesity increased from 16.0% in 1993–1994 to 25.4% in 2005–2010 (P < 0.001). Among women general and central obesity increased. Central obesity increased from 31.3% in 1993–1994 to 54.2% in 2005–2010 (P < 0.001). In 2005–2010 both general and central obesity showed significantly increasing trends with social position (general obesity: P < 0.001 for men, P = 0.04 for women; central obesity: P < 0.001 for both men and women). The social trend was absent in the earlier surveys.

Conclusion

General and central obesity is increasing among the Inuit in Greenland. There is an increasing positive association of obesity with social position for both men and women. The high prevalence of obesity is a serious public health problem that is expected to affect the already high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and its complications. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 25:335–340, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.