Examining the connection between residential histories and obesity among Ghanaians: evidence from a national survey
- 97 Downloads
This paper examined the connection between residential histories and obesity in Ghana. In the last two decades, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have witnessed the fastest growth in obesity incidence. These obesity trends in many LMICs including Ghana are associated with rapid economic growth and urbanisation. Features of the urban food and built environments contribute to obesity in LMICs in many ways, including exposure to unhealthy foods, sedentary lifestyles, and passive transportation.
The analytical sample consisted of 4368 adults (aged 18 and above) drawn from the World Health Organisation’s Study on Global Ageing and Health in Ghana. We employed descriptive statistics and multivariate regression models to examine the relationship between residential histories and obesity in later life using STATA 14.
Significant differences were observed among respondents, based on their childhood and adult residential histories. For instance, 44% of respondents who spent their childhood and adult life in the same urban area were obese, compared to 18% of those who spent their childhood and adulthood in the same rural area. Multivariable analysis revealed that cumulative exposure to urban environment was significantly associated with obesity. For example, respondents who spent their childhood and adulthood in different urban areas and childhood and adulthood in the same urban area were significantly more likely to be obese than respondents who lived in rural areas during childhood and adulthood (OR = 2.37, p < 0.001 and OR = 1.44, p < 0.001, respectively).
Our findings show that urban residence during childhood and later in life may present cumulative risks for adult obesity. Locally appropriate public health strategies that encourage healthy lifestyles among urban dwellers will be critical in the fight against obesity.
KeywordsObesity Place of residence Residential mobility Ghana
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain information from studies on human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
- Addo J, Smeeth L, Leon DA (2008) Prevalence, detection, management, and control of hypertension in Ghanaian civil servants. Ethn Dis 18:505–511Google Scholar
- Agyemang C, Owusu-Dabo E, De Jonge A (2009) Overweight and obesity among Ghanaian residents in the Netherlands: how do they weigh against their urban and rural counterparts in Ghana? Public Health Nutr 12:909–916Google Scholar
- Agyemang C, Boatemaa S, Agyemang-Frempong G, De-Graft Aikins A (2016) Obesity in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Ahima, RS (ed) Metabolic syndrome: a comprehensive textbook. Springer, Cham, pp 41–53Google Scholar
- Alwan A (ed) (2011) Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- Biritwum R, Gyapong J, Mensah G (2005) The epidemiology of obesity in Ghana. Ghana Med J 39:82–85Google Scholar
- Biritwum R, Mensah G, Yawson A, Minicuci N (2013) Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE). Wave 1:1–111Google Scholar
- Butland B, Jebb S, Kopelman P (2007) Foresight. Tackling obesities: future choices. Project report. Government Office for Science, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Delisle H, Agueh VD, Sodjinou R, Ntandou-Bouzitou G, Daboné C (2013) Dietary quality and the nutrition transition in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Preedy VR, Hunter L-A, Patel VB (eds)Diet quality. Springer, New York, pp 263–279Google Scholar
- Ervin D, López-Carr D, López-Carr A (2013) The nutrition transition. In: Warf, B (ed) Geography, Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Garrett J, Ruel M (2000) Achieving urban food and nutrition security in the developing world: 2020 vision focus 3. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC Google Scholar
- Kestilä L, Rahkonen O, Martelin T (2009) Do childhood social circumstances affect overweight and obesity in early adulthood? Scand J Soc Med 37:206–219Google Scholar
- McCracken K, Phillips DR (2017) Demographic and Epidemiological Transition. Int Encycl Geogr People Earth Environ Technol 2017:1–8Google Scholar
- Mendez MA, Monteiro CA, Popkin B (2009) Overweight exceedes underweight among women in most developing countries. Am Soc Clin Nutr 2005:714–721Google Scholar
- Naghavi M, Wang H, Lozano R (2015) Global, regional, and national age–sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2013. Lancet 385:117–171. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61682-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Scott A, Ejikeme CS, Clottey EN, Thomas JG (2012) Obesity in sub-Saharan Africa: development of an ecological theoretical framework. Health Promot Int 28:1–13Google Scholar
- WHO (2014a) Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2014. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- WHO (2014b) Non communicable diseases country profiles. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- WHO (2017) Obesity and overweight factsheet. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar