Prevalence and risks factors of overweight / obesity among undergraduate students: An institutional based cross-sectional study, Ghana

Document Type

Journal Article


University for Development Studies

Place of Publication



School of Medical and Health Sciences




Obirikorang, C., Anto, E. O., Addai, P., Obirikorang, Y., & Acheampong, E. (2017). Prevalence and risks factors of overweight/obesity among undergraduate students: an institutional based cross-sectional study, Ghana. Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences, 6(1), 24-34. 10.4314/jmbs.v6i1.4


Obesity and overweight are lifestyle conditions affecting more than half of the younger adult population. This study determined the prevalence and risks factors of obesity and overweight among undergraduate students in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. This institutional based cross-sectional study conducted between November, 2013 and February, 2014 recruited three hundred (300) students from the various academic colleges. Self-structured questionnaire was used to obtain socio-demographic and lifestyle related characteristics. Blood pressure, weight, height, waist circumference (WC) and hip circumference (HC) were measured. The overall prevalence of obesity and overweight was 1.7% (5/300) and 16.0% (48/300) using BMI; 13.3% (40/300) and 8.7% (26/300) using WC; 19.0% (57/300) and 20.0% (60/300) respectively using WHR while obesity was 28.7% (86/300) using WHtR. Generally, obesity was higher in females than males (p=0.0149). Drinking 2-4 bottle of alcohol per day was associated with obesity than overweight (40.0% (2/5) vs. 8.3% (4/48); p=0.0175). Increased prevalence of obesity was associated with fourth year students. About 22.9% (11/48) of students in Agric and natural science were more likely to be overweight while 40.0% (2/5) from health sciences were more likely to be obese. Akans and Ga-Adangbes’ were more likely to be overweight and obese respectively. Being female was an independent risk factor for obesity/overweight (OR = 12.67, 95% CI = 0.926-17.042; p = 0.0020). This study indicated that obesity and overweight were predominantly associated with female undergraduate students. The use of WC, WHR and WHtR in combination with BMI is essential.



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