Working paper abstract

#2014-079

Obesity of women in Jordan - Prevalence and associated factors: Making a case for a comprehensive obesity policy

Sebastian Göllner & Zina Nimeh

This paper analyses the current burden of obesity in the female population of Jordan on a national scale and examines the factors associated with it. Demographics and Health Surveys (DHS) were used for the years 2002, 2007 and 2009 covering a total of 23,197 women, 15-49 years of age, and variables including body mass index, age, governorate, educational level, marital status and wealth index, among others were investigated. The overall prevalence of obesity (body mass index, BMI ? 30) in Jordanian women was found to be 26.3 percent in 2002, 19.7 percent in 2007 and 28.2 percent in 2009. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that being obese was significantly associated with increasing age, being married and having only primary education. Apart from age, the strength of these associations decreased from 2002 to 2009 which could point to a generalisation obesity epidemic, for all population groups. This paper contributes to the increasing research on obesity in Jordan, and confirms many findings of smaller studies, by including a larger sample size and greater geographic coverage, on a national scale. The contextual policy analysis reveals that the public health efforts of the Jordanian government are relatively limited in this area, and concludes by trying to make a case for a more comprehensive approach in order to moderate the health impact of obesity in Jordan.

Keywords: obesity, public health, Jordan

JEL Classification: I18, I15