Original Article

Journal of Public Health

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 289-299

Patterns, distribution, and determinants of under- and overnutrition among women in Nigeria: a population-based analysis

  • Olalekan A. UthmanAffiliated withPublic Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The Public Health Building, The University of BirminghamCenter for Evidence-Based Global Health, Save the Youth Initiative Email author 

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the patterns and determinants of nutritional status among women in Nigeria.

Methods

Using a body mass index (BMI) category of 18.5–24.99 kg/m2 (normal weight) as the reference, set of univariable and multivariable multinomial logistic regression models were fitted to investigate the independent association between different sociodemographic characteristics and nutritional status. Results were presented in the form of relative risk ratios (RRR) with significance levels and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

Results

Almost two-thirds of women had BMIs in the normal range. Of the total sample, 14.5% of subjects were classified as underweight, 14.3% as overweight and 5.5% as obese. The youngest women are the most likely subgroup to be thin; one-quarter of women aged 15–19 have a BMI of less than 18.5 kg/m2. There is significant regional variation, with the prevalence of thinness ranging from 6% in the north central area to 22% in the northeast. There was a clear socioeconomic distribution underlying patterns of nutritional status, with women in low socioeconomic positions (SEP) experiencing a greater risk of being underweight and those in high SEPs experiencing the greatest risk of being overweight and obese.

Conclusions

The results show that women in low SEPs are more likely to be underweight, and women in high SEPs are more likely to be obese. There is a need for public health programs to promote nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle to address both types of malnutrition at the same time. It will also be important for these programs to be age and region sensitive.

Keywords

Malnutrition Obesity Socioeconomic status Nigeria