Obesity and Reproductive Health Outcomes among Women in India

Jitendra Gouda, Chander Shekhar


Historically most populations suffering from obesity resided in high-income, industrialized countries. In recent times, dramatic increases in the prevalence of overweight or obesity are seen in low-income countries. In India more than 30 million of people are either overweight or obese. It is higher among women than men. Considering the increasing incidence of obesity among women, this study analyzes the reproductive health outcomes among overweight or obese women. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 2005-06 is used for the analysis of prevalence of overweight or obesity and its association with reproductive health outcomes among women. Bivariate, Trivariate and Multivariate analyses in terms of binary logistic regression were used. More than fifteen per cent of women were found to be overweight or obese in India. Women aged 35+ (9 per cent), from affluent families (25 per cent), with higher education (29 per cent), without work (8 per cent) and with media exposure (9 per cent) were more overweight/obese. Such women were more likely to report stillbirths (OR: 1.306; P<0.001), caesarean delivery (OR: 2.391; P<0.001), larger than average (OR: 1.150; P<0.001) and overweight child (OR: 1.382; P<0.001) at birth. In addition, higher BMI level is found to be positively correlated with secondary infertility among women in India. Prevalence of overweight/obesity among women has increased alarmingly over the period. Overweight/obese women experienced more adverse reproductive health outcomes than women of normal BMI.

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