Lifestyle correlates of overweight and obesity among the population of Ukraine

Natalia Chagarna, Tatiana I Andreeva


BACKGROUND: Overweight and obesity are among the greatest health challenges nowadays. This study aimed to investigate correlates of overweight among the population ofUkraine.

METHODS: Data from the survey “Health and Well-Being in Transition Societies” (2000) were analyzed. Body mass index (BMI) based on self-reported height and weight was used to estimate the extent of overweight both in continuous and dichotomous form. Binary dependent variable was computed by setting BMI of 25 as the borderline between normal weight and overweight. Education, demographic characteristics, field of activity, level of physical activity, behavioral and eating habits were considered as independent variables.

RESULTS: In 2000, 44% of Ukrainian population (39% of men and 49% of women) were overweight. Risk of overweight increased with age: among those below 40 years old, 16% of men and 12% of women were overweight, about 47% of men and 60% of women were overweight in 40+ groups. Among young men (under 40), those consuming more fruit (OR=0,31) and more physically active (OR=0,43) were less likely to be overweight. In women over 60, those overweight were more physically active (OR=2,32). In men over 40 and women below 40, prevalence of overweight was lower in smokers than in non-smokers. Eating potatoes, meat and milk was associated with increased BMI in some groups. No consistent associations were found for consumption of fish, butter, oil, sugar, and vegetables, as well as for education.

CONCLUSION: In 2000, Ukrainian population did not bear patterns of obesity epidemics found in the West: no associations with either socioeconomic status or foods usually associated with overweight were found. Overweight was more likely related to increased use of traditional foods like dairy products, meat and potatoes. Smoking was related to lower BMI in populations with high prevalence of smoking.


overweight; obesity; BMI; eating patterns; smoking; alcohol use

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