International Journal of Health Sciences and Research

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Original Research Article

Year: 2017 | Month: July | Volume: 7 | Issue: 7 | Pages: 236-247

Risk Factors for Obesity and Overfat among Primary School Children in Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe

Kambondo George1, Sartorius B1, Mhlanga Maxwell2

1Discipline of Public Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa
2University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences

Corresponding Author: Mhlanga Maxwell


Background: childhood obesity is a major and emerging public health problem in developed and developing countries respectively. Associated risk factors are not well established in developing countries such as Zimbabwe and this information is essential for tailored intervention development. This study aimed to identify prominent risk factors for obesity and overfat among primary school children of Mashonaland West Province in Zimbabwe.
Methods: A school based cross sectional study was conducted using a multi-stage random cluster sampling approach (30x30). Overweight/ obese was defined using international obesity task force (IOTF) classification by Cole 2000 reference (BMI for age >85th -100th centile), and overfatness /obese (>85th centile, McCarthy reference) as outcomes. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression was employed to identify risk factors for overfat/obese classification.
Results: A total of 974 participants were enrolled. After multivariable adjustment, age and gender were not statistically associated with risk of obesity or over fat. Children in schools in rural areas were significantly less likely to be obese/overfat with significant heterogeneity across the districts within the province. Other prominent risk factors that were identified from the multivariable analyses were higher household SES and when one of the parents had diabetes mellitus. Children with unemployed fathers or father with lower education status were at lower risk of obesity/overfat.
Conclusion: This study has identified prominent high risk determinants of obesity/overfat among primary school children in Zimbabwe. More aggressive interventions should be tailored and targeted to the most affected urban areas within high risk districts. Health education and promotion interventions must target parents with diabetes mellitus to break the parent-child cycle.

Key words: school children, obesity, risk factors, Zimbabwe

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