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Overweight/obesity, Prevalence, Correlates, Rural districts, Zambia


Background: Overweight and obesity (overweight/obesity) is associated with hypertension. Low- and middleincome countries are experiencing an obesity epidemic. There is growing evidence that the epidemic is on the increase in urban settings of developing countries. However, there is scanty information on the magnitude of this epidemic and its correlates in rural settings. The objective of the current study was to establish levels of overweight/obesity and its correlates in rural areas of Zambia. Designing interventions based on the correlates for overweight/obesity to reduce its prevalence may in turn lead to a reduction in the prevalence of hypertension.

Methods: Cross sectional studies using a modified WHO Stepwise questionnaire were conducted. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors that were associated with overweight/obesity. Unadjusted odds ratios (OR) and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and their 95% confidence intervals are reported.

Results: Totals of 895 participants from Kaoma and 1198 from Kasama took part in the study. Altogether, 7.6% of the participants were overweight and 2.5% were obese, with a combined prevalence of overweight/obesity of 10.1%. Factors that were independently associated with overweight/obesity were sex, education, vegetable consumption, smoking and hypertension. Female participants were 78% (AOR=1.78, 95% CI [1.46, 2.17]) more like to be overweight/ obese compared to males. Participants with secondary or higher education level were 2.04 (95% CI [1.56, 2.67]) times more likely to be overweight/obese compared to participants with lower levels of education. Participants who consumed vegetables 5 to 7 days in a week were 35% (AOR=1.35, 95% CI [1.06, 1.72]) more likely to be overweight/ obese compared to participants who ate vegetables less than 5 days in a week. Non smokers were 2.06 (95% CI [1.42, 2.98]) times more likely to be overweight/obese than smokers. Participants who were non hypertensive were 30% (AOR=0.70, 95% CI [0.59, 0.82]) less likely to be overweight/obese compared to participants who were hypertensive.

Conclusions: Prevalence of overweight/obesity was low and this is the time to start instituting interventions to control the obesity epidemic in rural districts of Zambia.

Journal Title

Journal of Hypertension: Open Access







First Department

Public Health, Nutrition and Wellness


Retrieved April 18, 2018, from

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