Public Health Nutrition


Secular trends and risk factors of overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti adults: National Nutrition Surveillance System data from 1998 to 2009

Faruk Ahmeda1 c1, Carol Wasliena2, Mona A Al-Sumaiea3 and Prasanna Prakasha3

a1 School of Public Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD 4222, Australia

a2 Department of Family Sciences, College for Women, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait

a3 Community Nutrition Promotion Department, Food and Nutrition Administration, Ministry of Health, Kuwait


To determine trends in prevalence of overweight and obesity in Kuwaiti adults, and to examine their association with selected sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.

Analysis of cross-sectional population survey data from the Kuwait National Nutrition Surveillance System.

Social and health facilities in Kuwait.

Males (n 17 491) and females (n 21 120) aged 20–69 years attending registration for employment or pensions, or Hajj Pilgrimage health check-ups, or parents accompanying their children for immunization 1998 through 2009. Sociodemographic, lifestyle and anthropometric data were collected.

Prevalence of BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 rose from 61·8 % and 59·3 % in females and males respectively, peaked in 2004–2005 (81·4 % and 79·2 %) and fell slightly in 2008–2009 (77·3 % and 77·4 %). Obesity prevalence in females exceeded males for all years and age groups; by 2009, it had increased by 11·3 % in males and 14·6 % in females. Overweight and obesity prevalences in both genders increased until 2004–2005 but fell thereafter, with significant falls for females in 2008–2009. Logistic and linear regression analyses confirmed these temporal changes for both prevalence and BMI in both genders. The odds of obesity increased with age until the fifth decade for both genders and then declined significantly for males. Education level was negatively associated with obesity prevalence in females, while participation in leisure-time exercise was negatively associated with obesity prevalence in males.

Although the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) seemed to decrease from 2005 to 2009 among Kuwaiti adults, further research to clarify the identified confounders and continued monitoring are needed to confirm the decrease observed.

(Received June 29 2011)

(Accepted December 15 2011)

(Online publication February 21 2012)


  • Overweight;
  • Obesity;
  • Time trends;
  • Risk factors;
  • Kuwait


c1 Corresponding author: Email