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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2018, Article ID 4539171, 8 pages
Research Article

Prevalence and Predictors of Overweight and Obesity among Somalis in Norway and Somaliland: A Comparative Study

1Department of Community Medicine and Global Health, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
2College of Medicine & Health Science, University of Hargeisa, Hargeisa, Somaliland
3Division of Mental and Physical Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway

Correspondence should be addressed to Soheir H. Ahmed; moc.evil@demhailsa

Received 30 November 2017; Revised 6 May 2018; Accepted 23 May 2018; Published 3 September 2018

Academic Editor: Sharon Herring

Copyright © 2018 Soheir H. Ahmed et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Aim. The knowledge about the health status of Somalis in Norway and Somaliland is limited. This paper reports the results of a comparative study on the prevalence and predictors of overweight/obesity among Somalis in Norway and Somaliland. Method. We conducted two cross-sectional studies using the same tools and procedures, between 2015 and 2016. The study population was adults aged 20–69 years ( (Somaliland) and (Norway)). Results. The prevalence of obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2) was 44% and 31% in women in Norway and Somaliland, respectively. In contrast, the prevalence of obesity was low in men (9% in Norway; 6% in Somaliland). Although the prevalence of high BMI was higher in Somali women in Norway than women in Somaliland, both groups had the same prevalence of central obesity (waist circumference (WC) ≥ 88 cm). In men, the prevalence of central obesity (WC ≥ 102 cm) was lower in Somaliland than in Norway. For women in Somaliland, high BMI was associated with lower educational level and being married. Conclusion. The prevalence of overweight and obesity is high among Somali immigrants in Norway, but also among women in Somaliland. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity, particularly among women, calls for long-term prevention strategies.