Prevalence of obesity and associated risk factors among school children in primary schools in Lusaka, Zambia

  • U Chirwa
  • J Musuku
  • V.K. Pandey


Objectives: Todetermine the prevalence of obesity and associated risk factors among primary school children in Lusaka, Zambia.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study done in day primary schools in Lusaka District, Zambia, between October 2017 and March 2018. The study was conducted in fourteen schools, using a stratified multistage sampling. Two schools, one government and one private were selected randomly from each of the seven constituencies of Lusaka district. The pupils in each school were selected randomly using a probability proportionate to size sampling strategy. Information collected included anthropometric measurements, school head teacher reported, parent/guardian-reported, and childreported questionnaires on lifestyle, diet and physical activity.

Results: A total of 556 pupils were selected. The prevalence of obesity was 8.8 percent and overweight 12.6 percent with the burden increasing with age [adjusted Odds Ratio = 1.35, 95percent Confidence Interval (CI)= 1.05- 1.74, P- value= 0.02].The mean age of the pupils was 10.5 years (SD= 1.47). Boys had on average 38percent reduced odds for overweight/obesity compared to girls [Adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.62, 95percent Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.40 – 0.97, P-value = 0.034]. Pupils in private schools had on average twice increased odds for overweight/obesity (OR = 2.26, CI = 1.47 – 3.48, P-value < 0.001) than pupils in government schools. Pupils who watched TV for less than an hour had on average 55percent reduced odds for overweight/obesity (OR = 0.45, CI = 0.25 – 0.81, P-value = 0.007), than those that watched TV for more than 1 hour.

Concluson: The prevalence of obesity and overweight among primary school going children was 8.8 percent and12.6percent respectively. The risk factors associated with obesity include female gender, enrolment in a private school and proloned watching of television.

Keywords: Lusaka, Children, Obesity, Physical Activity, Diet, Lifestyle


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eISSN: 0047-651X
print ISSN: 0047-651X