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Rapidly increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in older Ghanaian adults from 2007-2015: evidence from WHO-SAGE Waves 1 & 2

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posted on 2023-05-20, 06:45 authored by Lartey, ST, Costan Magnussen, Lei SiLei Si, Boateng, GO, Barbara de GraaffBarbara de Graaff, Biritwum, RB, Minicuci, N, Kowal, P, Christopher BlizzardChristopher Blizzard, Andrew PalmerAndrew Palmer
Background: Studies on changes in the prevalence and determinants of obesity in older adults living in sub-Saharan Africa are scarce. We examined recent changes in obesity prevalence and associated factors for older adults in Ghana between 2007/08 and 2014/15.

Methods: Data on adults aged 50 years and older in Ghana were drawn from the WHO SAGE 2007/08 (Wave 1; n = 4158) and 2014/15 (Wave 2; n = 1663). The weighted prevalence of obesity, overweight, normal weight and underweight, and of high central adiposity were compared in 2007/08 and 2014/15. Multinomial and binomial logistic regressions were used to examine whether the determinants of weight status based on objectively measured body mass index and waist circumference changed between the two time periods.

Results: The prevalence of overweight (2007/08 = 19.6%, 95% CI: 18.0-21.4%; 2014/15 = 24.5%, 95% CI: 21.7-27.5%) and obesity (2007/08 = 10.2%, 95% CI: 8.9-11.7%; 2014/15 = 15.0%, 95% CI: 12.6-17.7%) was higher in 2014/15 than 2007/08 and more than half of the population had high central adiposity (2007/08 = 57.7%, 95% CI: 55.4-60.1%; 2014/15 = 66.9%, 95% CI: 63.7-70.0%) in both study periods. While the prevalence of overweight increased in both sexes, obesity prevalence was 16% lower in males and 55% higher in females comparing 2007/08 to 2014/15. Female sex, urban residence, and high household wealth were associated with higher odds of overweight/obesity and high central adiposity. Those aged 70+ years had lower odds of obesity in both study waves. In 2014/15, females who did not meet the recommended physical activity were more likely to be obese.

Conclusion: Over the 7-year period between the surveys, the prevalence of underweight decreased and overweight increased in both sexes, while obesity decreased in males but increased in females. The difference in obesity prevalence may point to differential impacts of past initiatives to reduce overweight and obesity, potential high-risk groups in Ghana, and the need to increase surveillance.


Publication title

PLoS One





Article number









Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Public Library of Science

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 Lartey et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Health status (incl. wellbeing); Health related to ageing

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