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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Volume 29, Issue 2


Normal weight obesity among young adults in Trinidad and Tobago: prevalence and associated factors

Cherrita Ramsaran / Rohan G. Maharaj
  • Corresponding author
  • The Unit of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies
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Published Online: 2015-11-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2015-0042



Patients with normal weight obesity (NWO) have a normal body mass index (BMI) but elevated body fat percentage (BF%), thereby increasing their risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. The purpose of this research was to determine the prevalence of NWO and its associated factors in a sample of young adults in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).


A cross sectional study involving a convenience non-voluntary sample of participants with a normal BMI of 18.5–24.9 kg/m2 was conducted. The following information was collected: history, basic anthropometric measurements, including BF% via the Tanita Ironman Body Composition Analyzer (BC554), physical examination and basic blood investigations. Participants were divided into two groups; normal BF% (<23.1% males, <33.3% females) and elevated BF% (≥23.1% males, ≥33.3% females).


Two hundred and thirty-six students participated, F:M (2.1:1), aged 18–28 years [Mean 21.33 (SD 2.5)], mean BMI 21.66 (SD 1.9). A response rate of 80.3%. The prevalence of NWO for this population was 19.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 15.1–25.7]. Males 14.4% (95% CI 10.3–19.7) and females 5.5% (95% CI 3.1–9.5). Variables with a statistically significant association with NWO included gender, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), systolic blood pressure (BP), the ratio of total cholesterol (TC) to high density lipoprotein and in females, the presence of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) (p<0.05). Binary logistic regression revealed that predictors of NWO were male gender and waist circumference.


One in five of this young adult population was found to have NWO. Long-term studies are recommended to study the full implications of these findings.

Keywords: bioelectrical impedance analysis; normal weight obesity; young adults


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About the article

Corresponding author: Rohan G. Maharaj, The Unit of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies, Phone: +868 645 6741, Mobile: +868 770 6953, Fax: +868 645 2018, E-mail: rohan.maharaj@sta.uwi.edu

Received: 2015-05-08

Accepted: 2015-08-16

Published Online: 2015-11-10

Published in Print: 2017-04-01

Implications and contribution: This is the first study of Normal Weigh Obesity (NWO) in a Caribbean, non-Caucasian, young adult population at high risk for developing non-communicable diseases. The results suggest a high prevalence of NWO in males, who traditionally carry the burden of early cardiovascular mortality in this population. Further study is recommended.

Conflict of interest: The authors report no conflict of interest. Bryden pi (Trinidad) and Roche Diagnostics provided test kits at a discount for the biochemical studies reported in this work.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, Volume 29, Issue 2, 20150042, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2015-0042.

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