Weight Status Among Somali Immigrants in Sweden in Relation to Sociodemographic Characteristics, Dietary Habits and Physical Activity

Jenny Aronsen Torp1, *, Vanja Berggren2, Lena-Karin Erlandsson2, Albert Westergren3
1 The PRO-CARE Group, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, School of Health and Society, Kristianstad University, and the Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden
2 Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden
3 The PRO-CARE Group, School of Health and Society, Kristianstad University, Sweden

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Creative Commons License
Torp et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Health and Society, Kristianstad University, Elmetorpsvägen 15, S-291 88 Kristianstad, Sweden; Tel: +46 (0)768-559282; E-mail:



Immigrants are considered globally to be a vulnerable subpopulation. Vulnerable population groups have a higher prevalence of obesity than the general population. Despite increased immigration of people from Somalia to Sweden in recent years, little research has been undertaken about obesity and obesity-related health risks among Somali immigrants. The present study aimed to investigate the prevalence of overweight and obesity, as well as possible relationships between weight status and socio-demographic characteristics, dietary habits and physical activity (PA) among Somali immigrants in Sweden.


This quantitative cross-sectional study included 114 respondents. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire covering socio-demographic factors, PA and dietary habits. Weight and height were also measured.


Of the 114 respondents, 50.9% had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or above. In bivariate analysis, there were no statistically significant differences between those with a BMI below 25 and those with a BMI of 25 or more regarding PA or dietary habits. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that female gender and being married were associated with having a BMI of 25 or above.


Socio-demographic factors may be more strongly associated with high BMI than PA or dietary habits among the targeted group and should be taken into account as an issue affecting Somali immigrants in Sweden that warrants further research.

Keywords: BMI , culture, dietary habits, overweight, physical activity, Somali immigrants, Sweden.