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Prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults from North Africa

Toselli, S., Gualdi-Russo, E., Boulos, D., Anwar W. A., Lakhoua, C. Jaouadi, I., Khyatti, M. Hemminki, K. (2014).

European Journal of Public Health, Vol. 24, Supplement 1, 2014, p 31–39.


The share of North African immigrants in Europe is growing continuously. In this review, we aimed to systematically analyse and describe the literature on weight status and physical activity in North African adults, both in their home country and after immigration to Europe. Existing data on North African residents and on North African immigrants in Europe were analysed by a systematic search on PUBMED. There is a wide variation among countries in the prevalence of overweight/obesity, with immigrants showing higher values. The overall results revealed a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity in females than in males in North African residents. Females also show higher levels of obesity among immigrants. In particular, literature reports indicate that 1.3-47.8% of North African residents and 3.6-49.4% of North African immigrants in adult age are overweight or obese. Physical inactivity is higher than 20% in males and 40% in females in North African residents. The highest frequency of physically inactive or lightly active people among immigrants was observed in first-generation Sudanese and Moroccans in Amsterdam (males: 57.1%; females: 74.2%), with increasing rates in second-generation females. The results underline a higher health risk in North African immigrants than in residents. Specific public health strategies should be adopted in various populations of North African origin to control the obesity epidemic.

Mots clés

Obesity; physical activity; Lack of exercise Adult; africa, Northern internship and residency; Immigrants medical residencies; Overweight.