The burden of underweight and overweight among women in Addis Ababa, EthiopiaReport as inadecuate

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BMC Public Health

, 14:1126

Chronic Disease epidemiology


BackgroundObesity and overweight are rising worldwide while underweight rates persist in low-income countries. The aim of this study was to examine changes in the prevalence of underweight and overweight-obesity among non-pregnant women aged 15-49 years, and its socio-demographic correlates in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

MethodsThe data are from 2000, 2005 and 2011 nationally representative Ethiopian Demographic and Health Surveys in Addis Ababa. The dependent variable was women’s nutritional status measured in terms of body mass index coded in binary outcomes to examine risk of being underweight <18.5 kg-m vs. ≥18.5 kg-m or overweight-obese >25 kg-m vs. ≤25 kg-m. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the strength of associations.

ResultsThe prevalence of overweight-obesity increased significantly by 28%; while underweight decreased by 21% between 2000 and 2011. Specifically, the prevalence of urban obesity increased by 43.3% i.e., from 3.0% to 4.3% in about 15 years. Overall, more than one-third 34.7% of women in Addis Ababa were either under or overweight. Women’s age and proxies for high socio-economic status i.e. household wealth quintile, educational attainment, access to improved source of drinking water, and television watching were positively associated with being overweight. The correlates of underweight were young age and proxies for low socio-economic status i.e. low wealth quintile, limited access to improved source of water or toilet facility.

ConclusionsThere is a need for policies to recognize the simultaneous public health problems of under and overnutrition, and for programs to target the distinct populations that suffer from these nutrition problems in this urban area.

KeywordsUnderweight Overweight Obesity Women Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-14-1126 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Yibeltal Tebekaw - Charles Teller - Uriyoán Colón-Ramos


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