This study aimed to ascertain whether fasting during Ramadan has any effect on anthropometric measurements and biochemical parameters among overweight and obese individuals; thus contributing to explore potential methods for combating obesity and overweight.
The study is a descriptive analytical one that was conducted in the month of Ramadan of Ramadan (August-September 2009) in Rafah City. A total of 128 overweight and obese adult males (BMI=31.18+4.48 kg/m2), without any medical history of diseases underwent empirical assessments one week before and in the last week of Ramadan after an average of 14 hours of daily fasting.
Findings revealed that there was a statistically significant decrease (P=0.001) in BMI, waist circumference and waist to hip ratio at the end of Ramadan. The study also found a statistically significant reduction in fasting blood glucose (P=0.001) and platelet counts (P=0.033) during Ramadan. The means of total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C, TC/HDL-C and lymphocytes have increased significantly at the end of Ramadan (P=0.001, 0.012, 0.001, 0.001, 0.001, respectively). A reduction in blood triglyceride levels was also observed but the differences were not statistically significant (P=0.181).
It was concluded that the changes in the meals frequencies during Ramadan has significantly improved HDL-C, fasting blood glucose, and anthropometric parameters among participants. The increase in total cholesterol and LDL-C can be due to unhealthy dietary habits adopted during month of Ramadan of Ramadan. Changing meal patterns and frequencies can be utilized to control obesity and its consequences.
Keywords: Ramadan, Fasting, Obesity, Overweight, BMI.