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Prevalence of obesity in Kuwait and its relation to sociocultural variables


YY Al-Kandari, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kuwait University, Kuwait. E-mail:


This study ascertains the prevalence of obesity and its relationship with some sociocultural characteristics in Kuwaiti society. The sample involved 212 men and 212 women, most of whom are overweight and obese. Grades 1 (body mass index [BMI] > 25–30 kg m−2), 2 (BMI > 30–40) and 3 (BMI > 40) of obesity characterize 71.2% of the sample. Most individuals are in grade 2 obesity, 37.2%. Grade 1 obesity is seen in 31.4% of the sample. Obesity increases with age, especially in women. The heaviest women are aged 60 years or older (mean BMI of 33.8), about the same mean as in the 50–59-year-old age group. The highest frequency of grades 1 and 2 obesity occur in women 30–39 years old. Fifty per cent of the underweight women are 20–29 years old or are over 60 years old. Most women of normal weight are 20–29 years old. For the men, 60% of the underweight sample are 50–60 years old. Male respondents between 30 and 39 years old are the heaviest; 42.7% of the sample are within grade 1 obesity and 40.7% of the sample within grade 2 obesity. The smallest percentage of men in grades 1 and 2 obesity are those 50–59 years old. An association was found between some sociocultural variables and obesity. Data show an increasing prevalence of obesity in Kuwait compared with some previous studies.