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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

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Disparities in obesity prevalence and obesity-related behaviors among adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago

Colwick Wilson / Susan Woolford
  • University of Michigan - Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, Division of General Pediatrics, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Leon Wilson / David Williams / Winetta Oloo
Published Online: 2017-09-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0098



African Americans adolescents have disproportionately high rates of obesity compared to their Caucasian peers. Little is known about the rates of obesity among adolescents of African descent in countries with diverse populations. Therefore, we aimed to determine the prevalence of obesity and weight-related behaviors among adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago and to explore differences by race and gender.


In this cross-sectional study, students from a national stratified sample of high schools (n = 42) in Trinidad and Tobago completed a self-administered survey regarding their health habits. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from measured height (via a portable stadiometer) and weight (via a digital scale), and BMI percentiles determined using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts. Univariate calculations and χ2 analyses were performed to determine obesity prevalence and explore associations between obesity and self-reported demographic factors and weight-related behaviors. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test mean difference in weight status and multivariate analyses explored the role of gender and race after adjusting for covariates.


Of the 3618 adolescents in the study, 56.3% were female. Race: 31.9% Black-Trinidadian, 33.7% Indo-Trinidadian and 33.4% Mixed-Race. Mean age was 17.6 years. The overall prevalence of obesity was 7%, but this differed by race (Black-Trinidadians 17%, Mixed-Trinidadians 2%, Indo-Trinidadians 1%). Black-Trinidadian girls were most likely to be obese (28.1%) and to engage in obesity related habits than their peers.


Black-Trinidadian girls have a significantly higher prevalence of obesity than their peers. Further work should explore culturally tailored interventions to address obesity prevention and treatment in this group.

Keywords: adolescents; obesity; Trinidad and Tobago


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About the article

Received: 2017-06-02

Accepted: 2017-08-06

Published Online: 2017-09-29

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170098, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0098.

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