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Title: Assessment of Factors Contributing to Obesity among Students of School of Public Health, University of Ghana.
Authors: Afari, E.A
Birukundi, F.F.
University of Ghana, College of Health Sciences School of Public Health
Keywords: Obesity
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Publisher: University of Ghana
Abstract: Background Understanding the determinants of obesity in adults is important due to its association with other chronic diseases. A study done in Ghana to determine Socio-demographic variation in obesity among Ghanaians adults reported that overweight and obesity had high prevalence in Accra metropolis. The study identified high prevalence among women and other upper- class residents. A similar study done at the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Ghana, found that risk factors for general obesity were being female, engaging in light Physical Activity, being aged 28-37 years and being married. The School of Public health environment have some exposures (such as lack of sleep, fast foods, peer influence that may influence overweight and obese.This study aimed at determining the prevalence of obesity and assessment of risk factors contributing to obesity among students at the School of Public health, University of Ghana, Legon. Methods. A cross-sectional study design was used. A systematic random sample of 180 students aged 18 to 49 years were interviewed from both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes from a total population of 352 students. This sample was made up of 87 males (48.3%) and 93 females (51.7%). Demographic characteristics such as age, sex, marital status and lifestyle (tobacco use, alcohol consumption and physical activity) were recorded. Weight and height were also measured with appropriate equipment. Physical activity level was assessed using the WHO Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. Results were expressed as frequencies, percentages, median and interquartile range (IQR). Chi-square test for trends at α=0.05 was used for checking association between risk factors and obesity. Multiple logistic regression was finally used to determine significant risk factors on obesity. STATA version 13 software was be used for data analysis. Results Prevalence of Body Mass Index (BMI) categories were 3(1.7%) underweight, 98(55.1%) normal, 58(32.6%) overweight and 19(10.7%) Obese. Prevalence of obesity was high (15.6%) in postgraduate students compared to undergraduate students (6.9%). Being married was also significantly associated with obesity (P-value=0.002). Physical activity, smoking and alcohol drinking did not show association with obesity. However prevalence of overweight (12.4%) and obesity (5.1%) was high among individuals engaged in light physical activity compared to those engaged in vigorous physical activity. Female had high odds of being obese compared to males (AOR=25, CI= 2.73-232.42, P-value=0.004). These results showed that as age group was the least predictor of obesity status of an individual (P-value=0.041). This is because its P-value is close to 0.5 (significance level). Conclusion The prevalence of obesity in this study was relatively high. This implies that obesity epidemic is a health problem among students attending tertiary institutions in Ghana. In this study, female sex was found to be the most significant factor associated with obesity among School of Public Health students. Health interventions addressing obesity associated risk factors are still needed in order to reduce this burden among universities’ students and adults in general.
Description: Thesis(MPH)-University of Ghana, 2016
Appears in Collections:School of Public Health

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