Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 555–562 | Cite as

Prevalence and Perception of Obesity Among Sub-Saharan Africans in Korea

  • Ijeoma Alaeze
  • Maxine Newell
  • Mieun YunEmail author
  • Sungsoo Chun
Original Paper


There is a dearth of obesity study among sub-Saharan African immigrants in Seoul, Korea. We investigated the prevalence and perception of obesity among this population. A cross-sectional study involving 211 immigrants aged 20 years and above from sub-Saharan Africa was carried out, using a structured questionnaire. Obesity (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m²) was calculated as the primary outcome variable. The overall prevalence of obesity was 27.0% (men 22.6% and women 36.8%). In a logistic regression analysis adjusting for age, obesity was significantly associated with increased duration of residence. Participants were 4.03 (95% CI 1.63–9.94) more likely to disagree than agree that obesity is a sign of wealth and that it gives respect. There is an urgent need to assess the possible factors predisposing sub-Saharan Africans to obesity and interventions should be designed targeting their lifestyle modification for healthy weight.


Obesity Immigrants Perception Sub-Saharan Africa 



We thank the Nigerian embassy in Seoul for endorsing the study and participating, the church leaders and the study participants for making this study possible. We are also grateful to Alaeze Ogbonna and Lydia Asante for helping in recruitment and taking measurements of the participants.

Author Contributions

All authors contributed to the study. Writing of manuscript: Ijeoma Alaeze. Review of discussion, development of questionnaire: Sungsoo Chun. Statistical analysis and research design: Mieun Yun. Development of the basic concept and theory, methodology, guide in the writing process and editing: Maxine Newell.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The research was approved by the Sahmyook University Institutional Review Board and provided in accordance with the declaration of Helsinki.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participant included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public HealthSahmyook UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Korean Institute on Alcohol ProblemsSahmyook UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Faculty of ScienceAsia-Pacific International UniversityMuak LekThailand
  4. 4.Department of Health ManagementSahmyook UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Department of Food and NutritionSahmyook UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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