Weight abnormalities among Nigerian women: correlates and programmatic implications

Stella Babalola


Whereas overweight is on the rise among women in Africa, many African women are still underweight, introducing a dual burden for the countries’ limited resources. Using data from the 2013 DHS, this paper examines this dual problem and its correlates in Nigeria. There is significant co-existence of overweight and underweight within the major socio-demographic groups. Nationally, more than twice as many women of reproductive age are overweight as are underweight (24.6 versus 11.3%). The factors positively associated with the risk of being overweight rather than having a normal weight include being ever-married, southern ethnic descent, higher education, higher wealth quintiles, prevalence of post-primary education in one’s cluster, and urban residence. Programmatic efforts in Nigeria should target underweight and overweight by encouraging people to consume more wholesome meals, providing nutritional assistance for underweight women, addressing factors that favor weight abnormalities in the built environment and engaging communities in changing unhealthy norms related to nutrition.


obesity; overweight; underweight; Nigeria

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11564/31-1-1005


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