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Inequalities in overweight and obesity among reproductive age group women in India: evidence from National Family Health Survey (2015–16)
Authors: Pradeep Kumar, Sherry Mangla and Sampurna Kundu
Source: BMC Women's Health, Volume 22, issue 205, DOI:
Topic(s): Contraception
Reproductive health
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2022
Abstract: Background: In developing nations like India, fertility and mortality have decreased, and diseases related to lifestyle have become more common. Females in India are more prone to being overweight and obese than their male counterparts, more specifically in affluent families than the poor ones. Understanding the overweight and obesity trend may help develop feasible public health interventions to reduce the burden of obesity and associated adverse health outcomes. Methods: The study utilizes the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), 2015–16. Descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate analysis was used to check the significant relationship between overweight and obesity, and other background characteristics. Income-related inequality in overweight and obesity among women was quantified by the concentration index and the concentration curve. Further, Wagstaff decomposition analysis was done to decompose the concentration index, into the contributions of each factor to the income-related inequalities. Results: Overweight & obesity among women had a significant positive association with their age and educational level. The odds of overweight and obesity were 57% more likely among women who ever had any caesarean births than those who did not [AOR: 1.57; CI: 1.53–1.62]. The likelihood of overweight and obesity was 4.31 times more likely among women who belonged to richest [AOR: 5.84; CI: 5.61–6.08] wealth quintile, than those who belonged to poor wealth quintile. Women who ever terminated the pregnancy had 20% higher risk of overweight and obesity than those who did not [AOR: 1.20; CI: 1.17–1.22]. The concentration of overweight and obesity among women was mostly in rich households of all the Indian states and union territories. Among the geographical regions of India, the highest inequality was witnessed in Eastern India (0.41), followed by Central India (0.36). Conclusion: The study results also reveal a huge proportion of women belonging to the BMI categories of non-normal, which is a concern and can increase the risks of developing non-communicable diseases. Hence, the study concludes and recommends an urgent need of interventions catering to urban women belonging to higher socio-economic status which can reduce the risks of health consequences due to overweight and obesity. Development nutrition-specific as well as sensitive interventions can be done for mobilization of local resources that addresses the multiple issues under which a woman is overweight or obese.