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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Comapring the Effect of Smoking and Obesity on Health Status in the First Population -Based Survey in Syria

Fouad M.Fouad, M.D1, Samer Rastam1, Wasim Maziak, M.D., Ph.D.2, and Kenneth D. Ward, PhD3. (1) Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies (SCTS), Shihan St., Aleppo, Syria, (2) Syrian Center For Tobacco Studies, Shihan Street, Syrian society against cancer, Aleppo, Syria, (3) Health & Sport Sciences, and Center for Community Health, University of Memphis, 633 Normal Street, Memphis, TN 38152

Objective: Smoking and obesity are highly prevalent in Syria and are considered to be the most urgent public health problems. The aim of this paper is to compare the effects of smoking and obesity on health status based on the first population-based survey conducted in Syria.

Methods: In 2004, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among adults residing in Aleppo-Syria involving 2038 participants, (54.8% female, mean age 35.3+12.1, age range 18-65 years, response rate 86%). Demographic factors and anthropometric measurements were obtained for all participants, as well as self-reported health/disability and smoking status. The main dependent variable was health status measured by a count of thirteen common chronic health conditions and health-related quality of life measured by physical health scale.

Results: Current smoking was found among 40.1% of participants (60.2% men, 23.% women), while obesity was found among 38.2% of the participants (men 28.3%, women 46.3%). Obesity (p<.001) but not current smoking (p=.10) was significantly related to the number of chronic diseases. Similarly, obesity (p<.001) but not current smoking (p=.33) was related to health-related quality of life. In conclusion, although smoking may still account for more premature death, obesity appears to have a stronger association with the occurrence of chronic medical conditions and reduced health-related quality of life in Syria.