The prevalence of obesity and its changes over time in middle-aged and elderly men and women in Jerusalem

J. Gofin, J. H. Abramson, J. D. Kark, L. Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To study the prevalence and correlates of overweight and obesity in Jerusalem, and changes over a 15-17 year period. DESIGN: Two cross-sectional surveys in 1970 and in 1986, among residents aged 50 years and more in a defined neighbourhood. SUBJECTS: The study samples comprised 1267 individuals in 1970 and 1858 in 1986. RESULTS: In 1986, 33% of women and 16% of men were obese (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m2). There was a decreasing trend in the prevalence of obesity with age among women, and in men there was no overall trend but the lowest prevalence was in the 75-84 age-group. Significant relationships with education and region of birth were observed in women only. Prevalence was lowest in the more educated and in women born in Europe and America. Subjects' self-appraisal and their report of physicians' diagnosis of health disorders, revealed a significantly higher prevalence of ill-health among obese people. In 1986 the mean body mass index and the prevalence of obesity were higher than in 1970, in both sexes in almost all age groups. The prevalence rate of obesity (standardized by sex and age) was 21% in 1970 and 25% in 1986, the difference was statistically significant (p = 0.008). The age standardized prevalence rate in each sex was also higher in 1986 although statistically significant only in men (p = 0.037). CONCLUSION: A community study in Jerusalem revealed a high prevalence of overweight and obesity in 1986 in this middle-aged and elderly population; and a higher mean body mass index and an increased prevalence of obesity were found in 1986 than in 1970, in both sexes. The increased prevalence of obesity among men could not be explained by changes in the age, education and ethnic composition of the population. Among women, the possibility cannot be excluded that part of the increase in obesity was attributable to changes in the distribution of the population by region of birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Community survey
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Time trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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