Nutritional status and lifestyle characteristics of adults aged 15-49 years living in Harare, Zimbabwe

  • T.M. Matsungo
  • P Chopera
  • P Tsikayi
  • C Benhura
  • N.G.T. Mushonga


Objective: To determine the relationship between nutritional status, dietary and lifestyle factors of adults aged 15-49 years living in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Harare between June-August 2017 among adults aged 15-49 years (n=279; 135 males and 144 females). Height and weight were measured using a stadiometer and adult weight scale respectively and the values were used to estimate Body Mass Index (BMI). Total Body Water (TBW) and body fat were measured by Tanita bioelectrical impedance scale. Data entry and analysis was performed using SPSS v22 (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL, USA).

Results: The mean age ± SD and mean BMI ± SD of the participants was 34 ± 10 years and 27.1±5.3kg/m2. Males were significantly taller, had a lower BMI, higher TBW and consequently lower body fat. The mean TBW and body fat was 49.0±7.0 and 30.6±10.0 respectively. There were no gender differences in age and weight (p>0.05). The BMI, TBW, and body fat were significantly different by gender (p<0.05). Body fat was negatively correlated with TBW (r=-0.973), height (r=-0.469), and was positively correlated with sex (r=0.687), age of participant (r=0.300) and weight (r=0.477). Alcohol consumption (0.3%) and smocking (1.7%) was low. While, 75% 'sometimes' grilled their food, 40.1% 'sometimes' read nutrition labels and 48.5% 'sometimes' consumed sugary beverages.

Conclusions: Females were overweight and obese compared to males. Although, alcohol and tobacco use were low, most of the participants practiced some unhealthy food habits. Therefore, gender sensitive interventions including nutrition education are required to address the emerging problem of over nutrition in urban settings.


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eISSN: 0008-9176