Prevalence of Obesity in Women of Accra, Ghana

  • RB Duda
  • R Darko
  • J Seffah
  • RM Adanu
  • JK Anarfi
  • AG Hill


The Women\'s Health Study of Accra, Ghana measured the burden of obesity and obesitylinked illnesses in urban women. This is a Cross-sectional community based study. 1328 adult women, age 18 years and older, were selected as a representative sampling of the women of Accra. A comprehensive medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests were performed. Overweight and obesity status was determined by calculating the body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2). BMI measurements are available for 1237 non-pregnant women. A total of 430 women (34.8%) were obese; 340 (27.4%) were overweight; 369 (29.8%) were normal weight; and 98 (8.0%) were underweight. Risk factors for obesity include age 50 to 70 years, OR 2.12 [1.72 -2.62], p<0.001; total pregnancies > 5 (p<0.001); mean age of last delivery > 34 years (p<0.001); ownership of a television OR 1.57 [1.20-2.07], p=0.001; telephone OR 1.55 [1.22-1.98], p=0.001; or a refrigerator OR 1.55 [1.20-2.00], p=0.001. There was no significant association with socioeconomic status. Significant medical conditions associated with obesity include hypertension OR 2.97 CI [2.17-4.05], p<0.001; elevated fasting blood glucose OR 1.94 [CI 1.04 – 3.62], p=0.037. This study identifies an unexpected high prevalence of obesity and obesity-linked illnesses in this population. Public and professional awareness of the prevalence of obesity and the associated health risks are critical for programs designed to improve women\'s health.

African Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 14 (3-4) 2007: pp. 154-159

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