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Khan MMH, Kraemer A
Correspondence: Dr MMH Khan, email@example.com
Introduction Extremes of body mass index (BMI), viz.underweight,overweight and obese categories, are associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, low birth weight, poor quality of life and higher mortality. In Bangladesh, the prevalence of underweightness is very high with an increasing trend of overweightness and obesity. This is a serious public health concern as it indicates a dual burden of disease. The present study assessed the associations of being underweight, overweight and obese with socioeconomic, demographical and migration variables among ever-married non-pregnant urban Bangladeshi women aged 13–49 years.
Methods The data was extracted from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2004. Bivariable, factor and multinomial logistic regression analyses were performed in this study.
Results The prevalence of being underweight, overweight and obese among ever-married non-pregnant urban women in Bangladesh was 25.2 percent, 15.7 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. Age, education, region of residence, marital status, current use of contraception and type of occupation were significantly associated with BMI categories. Adjusted multinomial logistic regression analysis indicated that women with a high socioeconomic status were significantly negatively associated with being underweight (odds ratio [OR] 0.55, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] 0.48–0.63) but positively associated with being overweight (OR 1.70, 95 percent CI 1.48–1.96) and obese (OR 2.48, 95 percent CI 1.89–3.26), as compared to the women with normal BMI. In contrast, women who migrated from rural to urban areas showed a significantly positive association with being underweight (OR 1.15, 95 percent CI 1.04–1.27) but negative associations with being overweight (OR 0.80, 95 percent CI 0.71–0.89) and obese (OR 0.75, 95 percent CI 0.62–0.92), when compared with women who did not migrate.
Conclusion Suitable interventions based on further studies are needed to reduce the prevalence of being underweight and overweight among ever-married non-pregnant urban women in Bangladesh. Factors, viz. socioeconomic status, rural-urban migration and education, should be considered while developing interventional strategies to reduce the prevalence of extreme BMIs among women living in urban areas of Bangladesh.
Keywords: obesity, overweight, rural-urban migration, socioeconomic status, underweight
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(8): 804-813