Reference Work Entry

Metabolic Syndrome

pp 41-53

Date:

Obesity in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Charles AgyemangAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam Email author 
  • , Sandra BoatemaaAffiliated withRegional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana
  • , Grace Agyemang FrempongAffiliated withRegional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana
  • , Ama de-Graft AikinsAffiliated withRegional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana

Abstract

This chapter outlines the epidemiology of overweight and obesity in sub-Saharan Africa, their determinants, and the relationship with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and diabetes. The review shows that overweight and obesity rates are increasing in all African regions with Southern African region being the most affected. The rate of overweight and obesity is higher among women than among men and in urban areas compared to rural areas. Socioeconomic status, age, parity, marital status, physical inactivity, body weight perceptions, and increased energy are powerful predictors of overweight and obesity in sub-Saharan Africa. The rapid urbanization accompanied by nutrition transition is changing the disease landscape in sub-Saharan Africa with CVD and its related risk factors gaining prominent position. The rising levels of overweight and obesity in sub-Saharan Africa are likely to exacerbate the burden of CVD and diabetes if measures are not taken to curb the problem. Public health strategies focusing on healthy diet, physical activity, weight reduction, and maintenance strategies are urgently needed in sub-Saharan African countries.

Keywords

Overweight Obesity Cardiovascular diseases Diabetes Gender Sub-Saharan Africa