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Media use and excess body weight among women in Nigeria: a cross-sectional study

07 Jul 2018


To investigate the (1) time trends in body mass index (BMI) and (2) relationship between media use and body weight status among adult women in Nigeria. We hypothesise that higher frequency of media use is associated with higher likelihood of being overweight and obesity among adult women.

Study design



Urban and rural settings in Nigeria.


Adult non-pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years.


Data were derived from Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 2003, 2008 and 2013. The outcome variable was excess body weight (overweight and obesity), and main explanatory variables were frequency of reading newspaper, listening to radio and television (TV) viewing. Datasets were merged to perform pooled analysis, and were analysed using bivariate and multivariable regression techniques.


Of the 69 401 participants, 16.2% had a BMI of 25.0–29.9 kg/m2 (95% CI 15.8 to 16.6) and 6.6% had >30 kg/m2 (95% CI 6.3 to 6.9). Between 2003 and 2013, the prevalence of overweight women increased by 4.1%, and that of obesity by 2.2%. Overall, radio was the most popular media followed by TV and newspaper. Respectively, 15.6% and 11.7% of the women reported using radio and TV almost every day and 30.6% and 25.1% at least once a week. In multivariable analysis, watching TV almost every day and at least once a week were associated with, respectively, 1.6 and 1.2 times higher odds of being overweight, and 2.7 and 1.5 times higher odds of being obese compared with those who never used radio. Similarly, significant associations were observed for newspaper and radio use as well.


The prevalence of overweight and obesity is noticeably high among Nigerian women and has been increasing steadily over the past decade. A statistically significant association exists between BMI and the use of newspaper, radio and TV. Further studies are required to develop a better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie this relationship.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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