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Prevalence of General and Central Obesity and Associated Factors among North Korean Refugees in South Korea by Duration after Defection from North Korea: A Cross-Sectional Study

1
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Beodeunaru-ro 7-gil, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul 07247, Korea
2
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Anam-dong 5-ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02841, Korea
3
Department of Preventive Medicine, Konyang University College of Medicine, 158, Gwanjeodong-ro, Seo-gu, Daejeon 35365, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 811; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040811
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
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Abstract

Previous studies on obesity status among North Korean refugees (NKRs) have been limited. We investigated mean body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and general and central obesity prevalence among NKRs in South Korea (SK) by duration after defection from North Korea (NK), using cross-sectional data of the North Korean Refugee Health in South Korea (NORNS) study and compared these data with a sample from the general South Korean population (the fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey). The prevalence of general and central obesity among NKRs with duration after defection from NK of less than five years were lower than among South Koreans, except for central obesity among NKR females (obesity prevalence, 19% (12–27%) vs. 39% (34–44%) for NK vs. SK males (p < 0.001) and 19% (14–24%) vs. 27% (24–29%) for NK vs. SK females (p = 0.076); central obesity prevalence, 13% (6–19%) vs. 24% (20–29%) for NK vs. SK males (p = 0.011) and 22% (17–28%) vs. 20% (18–22%) for NK vs. SK females (p = 0.382)). The prevalence of general and central obesity among NKRs with duration after defection from NK (≥10 years) were comparable to those of South Koreans in both genders (obesity prevalence, 34% (18–50%) vs. 39% (34–44%) for NK vs. SK males (p = 0.690) and 23% (18–29%) vs. 27% (24–29%) for NK vs. SK females (0.794); central obesity prevalence, 21% (7–34%) vs. 24% (20–29%) for NK vs. SK males (p = 0.642); 22% (17–28%) vs. 20% (18–22%) for NK vs. SK females (p = 0.382)). Male sex, age and longer duration after defection from NK (≥10 years) were positively associated with obesity. As for central obesity, age was the only independently associated factor. NKR females with duration after defection from NK of less than five years had comparable central obesity prevalence to South Korean females in spite of a lower BMI, which suggests that we need further monitoring for their metabolic health among NKRs in SK. View Full-Text
Keywords: North Korean refugees; obesity; central obesity; associated factors North Korean refugees; obesity; central obesity; associated factors
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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Kim, Y.J.; Kim, S.G.; Lee, Y.H. Prevalence of General and Central Obesity and Associated Factors among North Korean Refugees in South Korea by Duration after Defection from North Korea: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 811.

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