Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Levelling off of prevalence of obesity in the adult population of Sweden between 2000/01 and 2004/05

Jan Sundquist12*, Sven-Erik Johansson13 and Kristina Sundquist13

Author affiliations

1 Deparment of Clinical Science, Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

2 Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA

3 Department of Neurobiology, Health Care Sciences and Society/Centre for Family and Community Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:119  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-119

Published: 9 March 2010

Abstract

Background

The escalating global epidemic of obesity is of worldwide concern because of its association with several chronic diseases and premature mortality. Some subgroups seem to be more affected than others. The aim of this study was to examine whether the mean BMI (adjusted for age) and the prevalence of obesity (adjusted for all the explanatory variables) changed between 2000/01 and 2004/05 in different subgroups of the Swedish population.

Methods

This study compared two cross-sectional, nationwide random samples of persons aged 16 to 84 years: the first from 2000/01 (5515 men, 5838 women) and the second from 2004/05 (4681 men, 4821 women). After stratification by gender, a logistic regression model was applied to analyse possible changes in mean BMI and the prevalence of obesity between 2000/01 and 2004/05.

Results

Total mean BMI remained almost unchanged between 2000/01 and 2004/05 for both men and women. The prevalence of obesity increased slightly in both men and women, but not significantly (from 9.7 to 10.8% and from 9.6 to 10.2%, respectively). The prevalence of obesity in 2004/05 was especially high in some subgroups: men aged 45-54 (14.3%) or 55-64 (16.5%), women aged 65-74 (15.9%) or 75-84 (16.8%), men and women of middle educational level (15.6% and 14.4%, respectively), male former smokers (13.4%), and men from small towns or rural areas (13.1%).

Conclusions

Although the mean BMI and obesity were almost unchanged in the Swedish adult population between 2000/01 and 2004/05, obesity levels in Sweden remained unacceptably high, especially in certain subgroups. Primary and secondary intervention actions should strive to decrease the prevalence of obesity in Sweden.