Indian women suffer a very high burden of nutritional deficiency; but the prevalence of overweight and obesity are also on the rise. This study aimed to examine the effects of lifestyle and diet factors on change of Body Mass Index (BMI) in a longitudinal, community based sample of married Indian women.
325 women (15–49 years of age) were purposively chosen from 1998 to 1999 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) Delhi Samples and were followed-up after 4 years. Information on women's BMI, dietary habits and lifestyle was collected through structured and semi structured questionnaires. Effect of lifestyle (determined by high, medium and low sedentary lifestyle) and diet (frequency of consumption of several food items, and specific fatty / sugary items) on BMI change of >25% were estimated using multivariate logistic regression after adjusting for age, education, religion, ethnicity, household standard of living, and previous BMI status.
A high sedentary lifestyle (aOR 2.63; 95% CI 1.29 to 5.35) emerged as the main predictor of increase in BMI of women in the adjusted multivariate analysis even after controlling for all the possible confounders. However, previous BMI status was negatively associated with weight gain. Obese women were significantly less likely to gain more weight (aOR 0.26; 95% CI 0.11 to 0.65).
Consuming a diet high in sugar and fat and a high level of sedentary lifestyle was associated with larger gains in BMI among Indian women. More epidemiologic research with better measures of diet and lifestyle is needed to validate the findings in similar other settings.
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