Table of Contents
ISRN Obesity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 368520, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/368520
Research Article

Obesity, Overweight, and Perceptions about Body Weight among Middle-Aged Adults in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

1Intervention Thematic Group, Ifakara Health Institute, P.O. Box 53, Ifakara, Morogoro, Tanzania
2Department of Physiology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
4Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
5Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Qatar Campus, Doha, Qatar
6Department of Physiology, Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences-Bugando, Mwanza, Tanzania

Received 24 May 2012; Accepted 14 June 2012

Academic Editors: F. J. Elgar and B. Navia

Copyright © 2012 Alfa J. Muhihi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Prevalence of obesity is increasing throughout the world at an alarming rate. Appropriate perception of one’s own body weight is important for improved weight control behavior. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity and assess perception of body weight among middle aged adults in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Methods. Structured questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographic and lifestyle information including perception about body weight. Anthropometric measurements were taken by a trained person following standard procedures. Results. Prevalence of obesity was 13% and 36% among men and women, respectively. There was significant gender difference in perception of body weight (12% and 25% of men and women perceived their body weight as overweight). Only 2% of women perceived themselves as obese whereas none of the men did so. Among overweight men, only 22% perceived themselves as overweight/obese compared to 38% of overweight women who perceived themselves as overweight/obese. Overall, majority of the participants (87%) were willing to lose weight. Conclusions. There is a great difference between perceived and actual body weight with men underestimating their body weight more than women. Educational programs regarding overweight and obesity and the associated health consequences are highly recommended in Tanzania.