Prevalence of overweight and obesity among doctors in Brunei Darussalam


Ahmad Adam MOHD ISA 1, Alice LAI 2, Hashmet Parveen GHOUSE 3, ONG Sok King 4
1 Primary Health Care Services, 2 Occupational Health Division, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam, 3 PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, and 4 Non-Communicable Diseases Unit, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam



Introduction: Obesity is one of the most strongly associated risk factors linked to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Studies have shown associations between doctorsí body mass index (BMI) and effectiveness of health advice given to patients. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity in doctors working in Brunei Darussalam as there is currently no published data available on this population group. Comparisons were also assessed between different groups of doctors. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with data obtained from doctorsí occupational health records. Demographic characteristics and BMI were recorded. BMI were categorised according to the World Health Organisation classification; Underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), Normal (18.6 to 24.9) Overweight (25.0 to 29.9) and Obesity (>30.0). Chi-squared test and regression analysis were used to analyse the differences in prevalence among different doctor groups. Results: Out of 431 doctors, 160 (37.1%) were categorised as overweight and 73 (16.9%) categorised as obese. There were significant differences between the genders (p<0.001), ethnic (p<0.001), and those with and without chronic disease (p<0.001). There were no significant difference between age groups (p=0.065), and places of work (p=0.293). Multinomial logistic regression analysis showed: overweight was more likely among male doctors (p=0.005), and less likely among Malay doctors (p=0.003). Obesity was less likely among Chinese doctors (p=0.041), and more likely in those on treatment for chronic diseases (p<0.001). Conclusion: Prevalence of overweight was similar to the local civil servant population. The prevalence of obesity was lower than the general and civil servant populations in Brunei Darussalam. There were significant differences in the prevalence of overweight and obesity between the different groups of doctors. Further studies should investigate factors causing these differences. Appropriate interventions could be implemented to improve the BMI of doctors.


Keywords: Doctors, health workers, overweight, obesity, Brunei Darussalam


Correspondence author: Ahmad A MOHD ISA, Primary Health Care Services, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam
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Brunei Int Med J. 2016; 12 (4): 127-133