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The Association of Maternal BMI with Overweight among Children Aged 0–59 Months in Kenya: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study
Authors: Amos Mulu, and Subas Neupane
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 20, issue 2; DOI:
Topic(s): Body Mass Index (BMI)
Children under five
Maternal health
Country: Africa
Published: JAN 2023
Abstract: Childhood overweight is a growing global public health challenge and is prevalent in many countries. We aimed at exploring the prevalence of childhood overweight and the association of maternal body mass index (BMI), maternal demographic factors, and child-related factors with childhood overweight among Kenyan children aged 0-59 months. This study utilized Kenya’s 2014 demographic and health survey, which was based on national representative cross-sectional data. A total of 8316 children and their mothers’ data were analyzed. Overweight in children and maternal BMI were defined using WHO standard criteria. Multivariate logistics regression models were used to study the association of maternal BMI and childhood overweight. Nationally 5% of Kenyan children aged 0–59 months are overweight (5.5% male vs. 3.8% female). The highest prevalence in overweight among children was found in Central region (6.9%) and lowest in North Eastern (3.1%) which could be explained by the various economic disparities. Maternal BMI with underweight was associated with lower odds (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.14–0.64) whereas, overweight and obesity were associated with higher odds of overweight (OR for overweight 1.64, 95% CI 1.28–2.11 and OR for obesity 1.74, 95% CI 1.22–2.47) among their children compared to normal weight mothers. Overweight among children is of great concern and therefore initiatives to tackle both child and maternal health are urgently needed.