Prevalence of overweight/obesity and associated factors in adults in Erbil, Iraq: A household survey


  • Sherzad A. Shabu Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq



Overweight and obesity, Prevalence, Household survey, Risk factors


Background and objective: Overweight and obesity are important risk factors for the development of some important chronic diseases and are, thus, considered leading risks for deaths. This study aimed to find out the prevalence of overweight and obesity with their associated risk factors in the adult population.

Methods: A household cross-sectional survey was carried out in Erbil city, Iraq from April to June 2017. The study involved 1480 adults selected through a multi-stage sampling method. A specially designed questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic and other relevant data from the participants through direct interview. The height and weight were measured for all participants.

Results: The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity was 74.3% (33.4% overweight and 40.9% obese). There was a statistically significant association between being overweight and obese and older age groups, female gender, being married, low level of education, unemployment, not smoking, and not performing physical exercises. Following a multivariate analysis age (OR = 2.36, 95% CI = 1.60-3.49), female gender (OR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.53-3.08), and married status (OR = 1.87, 95% CI = 1.20-2.90) were found to be statistically significant factors associated with overweight and obesity.

Conclusion: The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the adult population in Erbil city is very high. This alarming epidemic requires serious consideration of the health policymakers and public health specialists to plan effective and preventive and control measures. Health education is one way through which people's awareness of this important health issue could be raised.


Metrics Loading ...


WHO. Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation. WHO Technical Report Series 894. World Health Organization Technical Report Series (Vol. 894). (Accessed November 11, 2017 at

Rizzuto D, Fratiglioni L. Lifestyle factors related to mortality and survival: A mini-review. Gerontology 2014; 60:327–35.

WHO. WHO obesity and overweight fact sheet no 311. (Accessed December 12, 2017 at

Ng M, Fleming T, Robinson M, Thomson B, Graetz N, Margono C, et al. Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet 2014; 384(9945):766–81.

Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA 2014; 311(8):806–14.

WHO. Framework for the implementation of the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. (Accessed October 23, 2017 at

Xu W, Zhang H, Paillard-Borg S, Zhu H, Qi X, Rizzuto D. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among Chinese adults: Role of adiposity indicators and age. Obesity Facts 2016; 9(1):17–28.

Speiser PW, Rudolf MCJ, Anhalt H, Camaco-Hubner C, Chiarelli F, Eliakim A,et al. Childhood obesity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005; 90(3):1871–87.

Ismael S, Ahmed H, Hasan M. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a sample of population in Erbil city, Iraq. Zanco J Med Sci 2016; 20(2):1280–7.

Mansour AA, Al-Maliky AA, Salih M. Population overweight and obesity trends of eight years in Basrah, Iraq. Epidemiol 2012; 2(1):110.

Rahmani A, Sayehmiri K, Asadollahi K, Sarokhani M. Investigation of the prevalence of obesity in Iran: A systematic review and meta-analysis study. Acta MedicaIranica 2015; 53(10):596–607.

Cuschieri S, Vassallo J, Calleja N, Camilleri R, Borg A, Bonnici G,et al. Prevalence of obesity in Malta. Obes Sci Pract 2016; 2(4):466–70.

Ayatollahi SMT, Ghoreshizadeh Z. Prevalence of obesity and overweight among adults in Iran. Obes Rev 2010; 11(5):335–7.

Bishwajit G. Household wealth status and overweight and obesity among adult women in Bangladesh and Nepal. Obes Sci Pract 2017; 3(2):85–92.

Ginawi IA, Bashir AI, Alreshid YQ, Dirweesh A, Al-Hazimi AM, Ahmed HG, et al. Association between obesity and cigarette smoking: A community-based study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2016; 6(5):149–53.




How to Cite

Shabu, S. A. (2019). Prevalence of overweight/obesity and associated factors in adults in Erbil, Iraq: A household survey. Zanco Journal of Medical Sciences (Zanco J Med Sci), 23(1), 128–134.



Original Articles