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Body Weight, Obesity Perception, and Actions to Achieve Desired Weight among Rural and Urban Ghanaian Adults.

ABSTRACT: Background:Accurate body weight perception is important to maintaining an ideal body weight. In Africa, a preference for a larger body size and its association with health and wellbeing has been well documented. It remains speculative if these perceptions have changed or improved and if differences exist among rural and urban dwellers. The main aim of this study was to assess the body weight and obesity perceptions among rural and urban Ghanaians. Methods:This cross-sectional study involved 565 participants. The Stunkard figure rating scale was used to assess the body weight perception of participants. Participants were to choose from the scale figures they perceived to represent their current body weight, desired body weight, ideal body weight, ideal look for a wealthy person, ideal look for a woman with children, and ideal look for a woman without children. Additionally, participants were asked to describe obesity and its threat to health in their terms. Responses of participants to the above questions are presented as frequencies. Differences between rural and urban participants as well as males and females with respect to the median figure chosen for each question were determined by Mann-Whitney U test. Results:The median age of participants was 40 (IQR 26). The prevalence of overweight and obesity observed among participants was 52.8%. The most frequently selected figure as current body image was figure 5 (23.5%). Figure 4 was most frequently chosen by both males (37.2%) and females (24.6%) as their desired body image (27.4%). Male participants (41.8%) chose figure 5 as ideal for their gender while females (27.4%) maintained figure 4 as ideal for their gender. Study participants associated overweight with wealth and childbirth, and attributed their current weights to hereditary (27%) and childbirth (27%). Most participants were not taking steps to achieve their desired body image, and only a few engaged in both dieting and exercise to lose weight. Majority of participants described obesity as the accumulation of fat (91.0%) and viewed it as a threat to health (91.0%). Differences were observed among rural and urban participants with regard to the figure chosen as ideal for a wealthy person. Conclusion:Results from this study show an improvement in obesity perception and the acknowledgment of obesity as a threat to health. There was a desire for a normal-weight figure among study participants. Attribution of current body weight to hereditary and childbirth seems to be a hindrance to the implementation of actions to achieve this normal figure weight. Public health education, screening for overweight and obesity, creation of supportive food environments, and culture-sensitive interventions are promising to curbing the obesity menace.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC7094203 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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