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Maternal obesity trends in Egypt 1995–2005

Authors

  • Anne M. Austin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
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  • Allan G. Hill,

    1. Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
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  • Wafaie W. Fawzi

    1. Department of Nutrition, Department of Epidemiology and Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
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Dr Anne M. Austin, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. E-mail: anneaustin@hotmail.com

Abstract

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 46% of adult females in Egypt are obese. This research was aimed at documenting obesity trends and identifying the populations most at risk for obesity. Using data from the 1995 and 2005 Egyptian Demographic and Health Surveys a linear model was employed to seek associations between household wealth, urban/rural residence, governorate of residence, employment status, parity and age and increases in body mass index (BMI) among married Egyptian women between the ages of 15–49. Between 1995 and 2005, the mean BMI of women of reproductive age in Egypt increased from 26.31 to 28.52. Although there was an overall trend towards greater obesity between 1995 and 2005, older women residing in rural, poor households became obese at a faster rate than younger women residing in richer, urban households. Studies have shown that household wealth is a key determinant of food consumption patterns. Rising obesity rates among the poor in developed countries are linked to the relatively cheap price of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods. One factor that may be contributing to the rapid increases in obesity among the rural poor in Egypt is the subsidisation of high-energy, low-nutritive value foods that form a larger part of the diet of poor, rural populations.

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