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Risk factors for overweight and obesity among women of reproductive age in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Mosha, Dominic1, 2
  • Paulo, Heavenlight A.3, 4
  • Mwanyika-Sando, Mary1
  • Mboya, Innocent B.3, 5
  • Madzorera, Isabel6
  • Leyna, Germana H.4, 7
  • Msuya, Sia E.3
  • Bärnighausen, Till W.8
  • Killewo, Japhet4
  • Fawzi, Wafaie W.6, 6
  • 1 Africa Academy for Public Health, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania , Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
  • 2 Ifakara Health Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania , Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
  • 3 Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Moshi, Tanzania , Moshi (Tanzania)
  • 4 Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania , Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
  • 5 University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa , Durban (South Africa)
  • 6 Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA , Boston (United States)
  • 7 Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania , Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
  • 8 Institute of Global Health, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany , Heidelberg (Germany)
Published Article
BMC Nutrition
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Jul 16, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s40795-021-00445-z
Springer Nature
  • Research


BackgroundOverweight and obesity have increased considerably in low- and middle-income countries over the past few decades, particularly among women of reproductive age. This study assessed the role of physical activity, nutrient intake and risk factors for overweight and obesity among women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional survey among 1004 women aged 15–49 years in the Dar es Salaam Urban Cohort Study (DUCS) from September 2018 to January 2019. Dietary intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Physical activity was assessed using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) using metabolic equivalent tasks (MET). Modified poison regression models were used to evaluate associations between physical activity and nutrient intake with overweight/obesity in women, controlling for energy and other factors.ResultsThe mean (±SD) age of study women was 30.2 (±8.1) years. Prevalence of overweight and obesity was high (50.4%), and underweight was 8.6%. The risk of overweight/obesity was higher among older women (35–49 vs 15–24 years: PR 1.59; 95% CI: 1.30–1.95); women of higher wealth status (PR 1.24; 95% CI: 1.07–1.43); and informally employed and married women. Attaining moderate to high physical activity (≥600 MET) was inversely associated with overweight/obesity (PR 0.79; 95% CI: 0.63–0.99). Dietary sugar intake (PR 1.27; 95% CI: 1.03–1.58) was associated with increased risk, and fish and poultry consumption (PR 0.78; 95% CI: 0.61–0.99) with lower risk of overweight/obesity.ConclusionLifestyle (low physical activity and high sugar intake), age, wealth status, informal employment and marital status were associated with increased risk of overweight/obesity, while consumption of fish and poultry protein was associated with lower risk. The study findings underscore the need to design feasible and high-impact interventions to address physical activity and healthy diets among women in Tanzania.

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