Objective To assess obesity, the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage (BF%) among adults, and determine the appropriate BMI cut-points in Kiribati.
Methods A cross-sectional study was undertaken among 483 adults randomly selected from South Tarawa (urban) and Butaritari (rural). Weight, height, BF% and physical activity level (PAL) was measured using standard methods. Linear and quadratic regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between BF% and BMI whilst controlling for age and gender. ROC curve analyses were used to assess whether for the Kiribati population alternative BMI cut-off points for obesity are needed.
Results Approximately 75% of participants were obese using standard BMI and BIA cut-offs, with the highest prevalence observed in South Tarawa. BF% was significantly (p<0.001) and positively associated with age (males, r=0.78; females, r=0.67; p<0.000) and BMI. Based on ROC-curve analyses the BMI cut-offs for predicting high BF% among I-Kiribati people were 24.5kg/m 2 for males and 32.9 kg/m 2 for females
Conclusion In conclusion, the majority of adults in Kiribati were either obese or overweight and had high BF%. We suggest that ethnic-specific BMI cut-points to define obesity for the population of Kiribati may be more appropriate than the currently used international cut-points.