263616 Factors Associated with Obesity among Bhutanese Refugee Women in the United States

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Madhav P. Bhatta, PhD, MPH , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Sunita Shakya, BHCM , College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Lori Assad, RD, LD , College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Background: Bhutanese refugees are one of the most recent Asian arrivals in the United States (U.S.). This study examined the risk factors for obesity among these refugee women settled in a mid-western city.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 103 women 18-55 years of age. Using an interviewer administered Nepali language survey we obtained information on the potential risk factors including socio-demographics and dietary practices. We measured height and weight for the Body-Mass-Index (BMI) and performed logistic regression to evaluate the association of putative risk factors with being overweight/obese (BMI>=25.00 kg/m2).

Results: The mean(±SD) age and duration since arrival in the U.S. were 35.9(±11.2) years and 19.8(±12.1) months, respectively. Of 103 participants, 8(7.8%), 43(41.8%), 39(37.7%), and 13(12.6%) were underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese, respectively. In a multivariable logistic regression analysis factors associated with being overweight/obese (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval) included: >25 years of age (1.8; 0.49-6.8); =<8th grade education (2.1; 0.44-10.1); having >=1 children (6.8; 1.0-44.5); being employed (1.4; 0.29-6.3); being in the U.S. >12 months (1.2; 0.36-4.1); being physically active (3.6; 0.85-14.9); drinking sugary beverages (2.3; 0.71-7.3); and eating meat (5.0; 1.1-22.1).

Conclusions: Over 50% of the study women were overweight or obese, which has significant implications for chronic diseases for this population. The magnitude of associations for several risk factors, though not statistically significant due to small sample size, were strong. Larger studies to confirm these results and provide data for interventions for reducing obesity in this new and vulnerable Asian group are warranted.

Learning Areas:

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the prevalence of obesity among Bhutanese refugee women in the United States. 2. Identify the risk factors associated with overweight and obesity among Bhutanese refugee women in the United States.

Keywords: Refugees, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of the study and trained epidemiologist (PhD, MPH) with skills for designing, analyzing and presenting the study results.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.