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Women and Weight Gain in Urban India: Evidence from the National Family Health Surveys (1998–2006)
Authors: Alka Dev, and Deborah Balk
Source: Spatial Demography , 3(1): 1-25; DOI: 10.1007/s40980-015-0001-5
Topic(s): Nutrition
Country: Asia
Published: APR 2015
Abstract: While malnutrition remains an important public health concern in poor countries, particularly among the rural and urban poor, overweight and obesity are emerging as important public health concerns for urban individuals. Globalization of the fast food industry and shifts in physical activity patterns in urban areas can result in different risks for overweight and obesity by socioeconomic status and sex for urban and rural residents. We examined Indian National Family Health Survey data, focusing on the association between urban residence and gains in body mass index among women (ages 15–49) in two survey rounds. We constructed multivariate models to assess the individual-level variation in BMI and the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese, finding that urban living is strongly associated with gains in BMI among women in India. Large cities have the highest proportions of overweight and obese women while spatial regression results suggest spatial clustering of higher BMIs in urbanized areas districts. Urban clustering of overweight and obesity may predict the future burden of chronic diseases for India but will benefit from further evaluation based on finer resolution data.