Trends in Prevalence and Related Risk Factors of Overweight and Obesity among Women of Reproductive Age in Zimbabwe, 2005-2015

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Aug 2;16(15):2758. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16152758.


Background: The prevalence of non-communicable diseases is rising in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Zimbabwe, yet, the risk factors associated with overweight and obesity among women in the country have not been explored. This study investigated the trends in prevalence and demographic, socioeconomic and behavioral risk factors of overweight and obesity among Zimbabwean women of reproductive age (15-49 years) from 2005-2015. Methods: Data from the 2005/2006, 2010/2011 and 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) were analyzed. Multiple logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral risk factors and obesity and overweight (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25.0 kg/m2). We further estimated the prevalence of overweight and obesity over the period covered by the surveys. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity increased substantially from 25.0% in 2005 to 36.6% in 2015. Some of the risk factors for overweight and obesity were older age (40+) (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 4.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.73-6.01) in 2015, being married, high economic status, being employed, residence in urban areas and alcohol use. Educational attainment and smoking status were not associated with overweight and obesity across all surveys. Conclusions: We provide the first detailed analysis of trends and risk factors for overweight and obesity between 2005 and 2015 among women in Zimbabwe. The findings indicate that women of reproductive age are at high, and increasing, risk of excess weight. Thus, prevention and control measures are needed to address the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in Zimbabwe.

Keywords: Zimbabwe; determinants; non-communicable diseases; obesity; overweight; trends.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Reproduction*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Zimbabwe / epidemiology