Objectives: The main objective of this study is to analyze the trends in obesity among Jordanian women of reproductive age over the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012 based on three Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Furthermore, the study aims to analyze the possible factors predicting obesity among Jordanian women.
Methodology: The individual and household member data sets for each survey provided data for ever-married and unmarried women, respectively. The body mass index (BMI) of each woman was calculated by dividing her weight in kilograms by the square of her height in meters. A binary variable identifying women with BMI of 30 kg/m2 and above as obese was used
throughout for descriptive, bivariate and multivariate analyses. Two sets of analyses were performed, one for all women and the other for ever- married women only. Each set of analyses covers the three DHS surveys, which were conducted in 2002, 2009 and 2012. For multivariate analysis, in addition to three models of standard logistic regression for individual surveys, we used a multi-level fixed effect model for the pooled data.
Independent variables included age, education, place of residence, wealth quintiles and marital status. For the ever-married sample additional variables related to parity, use of contraceptive method, smoking and working status were used. We used STATA version 12 to consolidate the data sets and the survey data analysis module in STATA to perform descriptive
and multivariate analyses.
Results: No major differences in mean BMI or the prevalence of obesity were observed among women of reproductive age across the three examined surveys. The mean BMI of the all-women sample was approximately 27 kg/m2 for the three surveys, while in the ever-married sample it went was slightly higher, at 29 kg/m2. The prevalence of obesity for all women ranged from 26.3 percent in 2002 to 28.7 percent in 2012. In the ever-married women sample, the lowest prevalence of obesity occurred in 2002, at 37.4 percent, and the highest in 2009, at 38.9 percent. The prevalence of obesity ranged across the surveys from 8 percent to 13 percent for never-married women and from 37 percent to 39 percent for ever-married women. Even after adjustment for the age differences between these groups, the never-married were less likely to be obese than the ever-married.