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Wealth index and other behavioral and sociodemographic characteristics associated with body mass index in Ethiopia
Authors: Lijalem Melie Tesfaw and Essey Kebede Muluneh
Source: SAGE Open Medicine, Vol. 9; DOI:
Topic(s): Body Mass Index (BMI)
Wealth Index
Country: Africa
Published: MAY 2021
Abstract: Background: Nowadays, the burden of non-communicable diseases including obesity has been an increasing public health concern. This menace can be monitored using indexing method like body mass index. Studies indicate that socioeconomic indicators such as income, biology, behavior, and demographic factors associated with body mass index. In Ethiopia, few studies associate wealth index with body mass index in people of ages between 15 and 49. This study was aimed to assess the association of body mass index with wealth index, and behavioral and sociodemographic population characteristics. Methods: A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted using the 2016 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey population of ages 15–49. A total of 10,245 individuals were considered to detect the effect of socioeconomic, biological, behavioral, and demographic factors on body mass index using logistic regression. Results: The prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity among men are 23.8%, 6.6%, and 2.0%, respectively, which is lower than that of women (underweight 25.3%, overweight 9.1%, and obesity 2.9%). The poorest men had higher odds of being underweight (adjusted odds ratio = 2.395%; 95% confidence interval = 2.020–3.544) as compared to the richest men. Merchants and government employees have lower odds (adjusted odds ratio = 0.744; 95% confidence interval = 0.588–0.899) compared to men whose occupation is farming and labor, indicating that merchants and government employees are more likely to become overweight and obese compared to men who are farmers and laborers. Conclusion: It is concluded that wealth index is an important socioeconomic determinant of body mass index among men and women of age 15–49 in Ethiopia. A high prevalence of underweight, and overweight, and obesity is observed, which increases instances of non-communicable diseases. Effects of socioeconomic, biological, behavioral, and demographic indicators on body mass index differed according to sex.