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Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity and Perception of Healthy and Desirable Body Size in Urban, Ghanaian Women

  • 2012
  • Journal Article
Benkeser, RM; Biritwum, R & Hill, AG

Publication Title: Ghana Medical Journal

Abstract: Objective: To determine if the perceived ideal body size of urban women in Accra, Ghana influences current body size. Results: Using the WHO criteria for BMI, 3.6% (95) of women were underweight, 31.5% (828) normal weight, 27.8% (730) overweight and 37.1% (973) obese. In total, 64.9% of women sampled were either overweight or obese. A WC of greater than 88 cm revealed 78.7% (2,113) obesity. A WHR cut-off for obesity of 0.8 revealed 78.9% (2,119) obesity. ROC analysis confirmed the validity of using the standardized Stunkard FRS to assess body image in a population of Ghanaian women. Age, relative wealth, being married, having grown up in an urban environment and having parity >2 are associated with higher risk of overweight or obesity. Education level is not associated with overweight status. Overall, 72.2% (1,936) of women were dissatisfied with their current body size and 41.8% of women preferred a smaller figure. Overweight and obese women were significantly more likely than normal weight women to desire weight loss. Conclusion: Ideal body image in urban, Ghanaian women should not be viewed as an inhibitor to healthy weight maintenance. Interventions should be designed to help women achieve their ideal and healthy weights.


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