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The prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity and their related socio-demographic and lifestyle factors among adult women in Myanmar, 2015-16
Authors: Seo Ah Hong, Karl Peltzer, Kyi Tun Lwin, and La Seng Aung
Source: PLOS ONE , 13(3): e0194454; DOI:
Topic(s): Nutrition
Women's health
Country: Asia
Published: MAR 2018
Abstract: Background The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of underweight and overweight or obesity and their socio-demographic and lifestyle factors in a female adult population in Myanmar. Material and methods In a national cross-sectional population-based survey in the 2015–16 Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey, 12,160 women aged 18–49 years and not currently pregnant completed questionnaires and anthropometric measurements. Nutritional status was determined using Asian body mass index cut-offs: underweight (BMI<18.5 kg/m2), overweight (23.0–27.4 kg/m2), and obesity (=27.5 kg/m2). Multinomial logistic regression modelling was used to determine the association between socio-demographic and lifestyle factors and weight status. Results The prevalence of underweight was 14.1%, overweight 28.1% and obesity 13.1%. Among different age groups, the prevalence of underweight was the highest among 18 to 29 year-olds (20.2%), while overweight or obesity was the highest in the age group 30 to 49 years (around 50%). In multinomial logistic regression, being 30 to 49 years old, poorer and richer wealth status, living in all the other regions of Myanmar and ever contraceptive use were inversely and current tobacco use, not working and having less than two children ever born were positively associated with underweight relative to normal weight. Older age, having secondary education, urban residence, wealthier economic status, living with a partner, living in the Northern and Southern regions of Myanmar, having less than two children ever born and having ever used contraceptives were positively and current tobacco use was negatively associated with overweight or obesity relative to normal weight. Conclusions A dual burden of both underweight and overweight or obesity among female adults was found in Myanmar. Sociodemographic and health risk behaviour factors were identified for underweight and overweight or obesity that can guide public health interventions to address both of these conditions.