Objectives: Overweight and obesity are known risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and pregnancy-related problems. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and change in prevalence of overweight and obesity among non-pregnant women of reproductive age and relationship with individual- and community-level factors over a decade. Study design: This was a cross-sectional survey with two-stage probability sampling design.
Methods: Data sets were pooled from the 2008, 2013 and 2018 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey – a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of the entire Nigerian population aged 15–49 years. Body mass index (BMI) was used to classify overweight and obesity. Multilevel logistic regression was used to assess associations between overweight (25.0–29.9 kg/m2), obesity (≥30.0 kg/m2) and individual and community factors.
Results: There were 76,729 non-pregnant women (38.0% in 2008, 44.5% in 2013 vs 17.5% in 2018) with a mean age of 29.0 years and a BMI of 23.0 kg/m2 across the three survey periods. Overweight and obesity prevalence were 16.0% and 6.2% in 2008, 17.2% and 7.5% in 2013 and 18.1% and 9.9% in 2018, respectively. There was 76% (95% confidence interval: 44% to twofold) increased odds of obesity in 2018 compared with 2008 in adjusted analysis. Older women with at least primary education living in urban areas, ever married and from wealthier households are at a greater odd of being overweight and obese. Conclusion: Over a decade, overweight and obesity prevalence increased among non-pregnant women of reproductive age in Nigeria. There is an urgent need for public health strategies and interventions to improve on deficient knowledge and low awareness about healthy foods and physical activity at individual and community levels especially in urban areas.