“Being fat is not a disease but a sign of good living”: The Political Economy of Overweight and Obesity in Nigeria

  • Tolulope Osayomi Department of Geography, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
Keywords: Obesity, political economy, spatial analysis, medical geography, Nigeria


Increasing overweight and obesity rates have accompanied economic development in recent years. This twofold health issue has become increasingly worrisome and is currently receiving academic interest and government attention.  A growing volume of studies has examined the demographic, socio economic, environmental and cultural risk factors of overweight and obesity in Nigeria where fatness is culturally revered. However, information on large scale factors associated with economic development shaping the geographical distribution of overweight and obesity is sparse. From the political economic standpoint, the central question of this paper is: ‘Does the spatial pattern of overweight and obesity correspond with the varying levels of economic development in Nigeria? The study relied on secondary data from published sources.  Linear regression models were estimated to determine the impact of economic development variables on overweight and obesity. Results reveal that percent population with white collar jobs had a significant positive effect on overweight whereas poverty, gross domestic product (GDP) and degree of urbanization were significantly related to obesity. The paper concludes that the spatial patterns of overweight and obesity follow the pathways of economic development in Nigeria.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0855-9414