Covariates of Overweight and Obesity Among Women in North India

by Praween Agrawal and Vinod Mishra

East-West Center Working Papers, Population and Health Series, No. 116

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: January 2004
Binding: paper
Pages: 26
Free Download: PDF


This paper studies the covariates of overweight and obesity among adult women in north India and suggests that overweight and obesity may increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Data 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, was analyzed. The study found that 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 found 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 found that overweight and obese women age 15-29 are significantly more likely to have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth; this relationship is not observed among older women. Prospective epidemiological studies are needed to better understand the causes and consequences of the growing obesity epidemic in India.