Journal of Public Health

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 387–397 | Cite as

Covariates of maternal overweight and obesity and the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes: findings from a nationwide cross sectional survey

Original Article



India is currently witnessing a rapid growth in obesity epidemic. We examined the covariates of overweight and obesity and the association between overweight and obesity and adverse pregnancy outcomes among adult married women in northern India.


The analysis is based on 5,273 ever-married women of reproductive age (15–49) in the states of Delhi and Punjab, included in India’s second National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2), conducted in 1998–1999. Body mass index (BMI) was used to define the terms overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m2). Adverse pregnancy outcome was defined as a miscarriage or stillbirth. Binary and multinomial logistic regression methods were used to estimate the effects of the covariates ofn overweight and obesity and effects of overweight and obesity on adverse pregnancy outcomes.


Age, urban residence, media habits, anemia status, and economic living standard are most important covariates of overweight and obesity among women in India. A separate analysis by women’s age finds that media habits and living standard are more important covariates for older women (30–49), whereas place of residence and education are more important covariates for younger women (15–29). The study also finds that overweight and obese women age 15–29 are significantly more likely to have experienced adverse pregnancy outcome (miscarriage or a stillbirth) in their lifetime. This relationship is not observed among older women.


The results are useful in identifying population groups for public health campaigns to promote appropriate diets and effective lifestyles to prevent the obesity epidemic and associated adverse pregnancy outcomes.


BMI Overweight Obesity Adverse pregnancy outcomes Miscarriage Stillbirth Women NFHS-2 India 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Organizational Learning and EvaluationInternational Planned Parenthood Federation South Asia Regional Office, IPPF HouseNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Population Policy Section, United NationsManhattanUSA
  3. 3.South Asia Network for Chronic DiseasePublic Health Foundation of IndiaNew DelhiIndia

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