Objective: To determine the socio-economic determinants of obesity in adults in The Bahamas.
Design and Methods: A subpopulation of adults 21 to 60 years was analysed for socio-economic differences in obesity levels. Data from the 2001 Bahamas Living Conditions Survey, a nationwide comprehensive household survey which included anthropometric measurements, were used. Bivariate and binary logistic regression methods for complex samples were employed.
Findings: Overall obesity prevalence was 32% (38% female, 25% male, p = < 0.0001). An inverse relationship by education appeared to be the strongest predictor for all persons (OR = 0.78, CI 0.67, 0.90; p < 0.0001). This relationship was also evident for females (OR = 0.71, CI 0.59, 0.85; p < 0.0001) while a positive relationship existed by economic level for males (OR = 1.23, CI 1.07, 1.41; p = 0 .005). There was a difference in food group expenditure for starchy vegetables only (p = 0.049). Other food group household expenditure, urban residence and female headed households showed no significant differences by obesity.
Conclusions: In line with international trends, obesity rates are high in The Bahamas, and especially affect females of lower socio-economic status. Public policy that targets this group is necessary to address this health concern.