Prevalence of overweight, obesity and central obesity and factors associated with BMI in indigenous yaqui people: a probabilistic cross-sectional survey

Araceli Serna-Gutiérrez, Alejandro Arturo Castro-Juarez, Martín Romero-Martínez, Heliodoro Alemán-Mateo, Rolando Giovanni Díaz-Zavala, Luis Quihui-Cota, Gerardo Álvarez-Hernández, Ana Cristina Gallegos-Aguilar, Julián Esparza-Romero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The Yaquis are an Indigenous group who inhabit in the state of Sonora in northwestern Mexico. This group has experienced changes in their lifestyle, moving from a traditional lifestyle to a more modern one, resulting in an increase of obesity and its comorbidities. However, few studies have been done in this group. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of overweight, obesity and central obesity and to identify the factors associated with body mass index (BMI) in a representative sample of Indigenous Yaqui people from Sonora, Mexico. Methods: A cross-sectional survey with multistage sampling was conducted among adults (N = 351) with residence in Yaqui traditional villages (Vícam, Pótam, Loma de Guamúchil, Loma de Bácum, Tórim, Ráhum, Huiribis or Belem). Anthropometric measurements were taken to diagnose overweight, obesity and central obesity. Food frequency and physical activity (PA) questionnaires designed for the Yaqui population were applied, as well as sociodemographic and clinical history questionnaires. The factors associated with BMI were assessed using multiple linear regression considering the complex design of the sampling. Results: The prevalence of overweight, obesity and central obesity in the population were 36.5%, 35.0% and 76.0%, respectively. Having higher values of the modernization index (β = 0.20, p = 0.049) was associated with a higher BMI, while having a higher consumption of a “prudent” dietary pattern (traditional dishes, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy) (β = -0.58, p = 0.009) and performing a greater number of hours per week of vigorous PA (β = -0.14, p = 0.017) were associated with a lower BMI. Conclusions: The prevalence of the studied abnormalities is high. The evidence presented in this study suggests that interventions are needed and more research is required to determine the appropriate components of such interventions, in order to meet the needs of the Yaqui people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number308
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was funded in part by The Research Center for Food and Development, the Programa de Mejoramiento del Profesorado (PROMEP) and by the Program of Promotion and Support to Research Projects of the Technological Institute of Sonora.

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful with the Yaqui traditional autorities for allowing us to carry out the proyect and?for the strong support and assistance offered by Indigenous auxiliary?health?workers in all villages surveyed, especially Claudia Valencia Hern?ndez. The authors thanks Itzel Lagarda Rey, Melisa Le ?n Cano, Luz Mar?a Nu?ez Vega and Adriana Ca?ez Moreno for the support in the data collection. The authors also thanks to the Programa de Mejoramiento del Profesorado (PROMEP), the Programa de Fomento y Apoyo de Proyectos de Investigaci?n and to all the study participants.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Associated factors
  • Central obesity
  • Indigenous Yaqui
  • México
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Prevalence
  • Survey


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