Epidemiological study on body mass index distribution and health awareness among women at an urban tertiary care centre of north India


  • Kamna Datta Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, PGIMER and Dr. RML Hospital, New Delhi, India
  • Pooja Gupta Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, PGIMER and Dr. RML Hospital, New Delhi, India
  • Pushpa Singh Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, PGIMER and Dr. RML Hospital, New Delhi, India




BMI, Health awareness, Indian women, Obesity


Background: Obesity has become a new worldwide health problem and is gradually moving towards an epidemic. overweight and obesity implies an abnormal excessive fat accumulation that poses health risk. According to National Family Health Survey-4, prevalence of obesity has doubled in country over the last decade. Asian Indians stand at higher risk for development of obesity related non-communicable diseases at lower body mass index levels.

Methods: It was an observational interpretive study carried on 1000 randomly selected women over 3 months in a tertiary center of urban northern India. BMI was obtained by dividing weight in kilograms and height in meters squares. Patients were enquired about any menstrual complains, known comorbidities, awareness of obesity in terms of its cause and effects, about weight reduction and benefits of exercise and its practice and details noted in a preformed performa. No prior intervention or health education was given to avoid bias.

Results: Out of 1000 women, mean BMI was found to be 31.85±8.85kg/m2. BMI classification (Asian standards) stated that 8.1% were overweight and 78% of patients were pre obese and obese (maximum in age of 21-40 years). Menstrual complaints were present among 39% of overweight and obese groups. Among comorbidities, hypothyroidism was found to be maximum being 9.5% in the obese group, followed by hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Only 26.3% of obese women were aware of the factors causing obesity. Knowledge of exercise benefits was grossly limited, with only one fourth of the pre obese and obese population being aware of it.

Conclusions: Rising obesity in Indian women needs measures for prevention. Though there is knowledge of the cure among Indian females but there is limited ability to implement the same. Health education of women regarding obesity related comorbidities along with the benefits of weight loss with exercises should be promoted strongly.


De Heer H, Wilkinson AV, Strong LL, Bondy ML, Koehly LM. Sitting time and health outcomes among Mexican origin adults: obesity as a mediator. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:896.

Tudor-Locke C, Brashear MM, Johnson WD, Katzmarzyk PT. Accelerometer profile of physical activity in normal weight, overweight and obese US men and women. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010;7:60.

Misra A, Khurana L. Obesity and the metabolic syndrome in developing countries. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93:S9-30.

Misra A, Khurana L. Obesity-related non-communicable diseases: south Asians vs white Caucasians. Int J Obes (Lond). 2011;35:167-87.

Misra A, Sharma R, Gulati S, Joshi SR, Sharma V, Ibrahim A, Joshi S, et al. Consensus dietary guidelines for healthy living and prevention of obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and related disorders in Asian Indians. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2011;13:683-94.

Singh RB, Pella D, Mechirova V, Kartikey K, Demeester F, Tomar RS, et al. Prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity and undernutrition, a triple burden of diseases during transition in a developing economy. The Five City Study Group. Acta Cardiol. 2007;62;119-27.

Alves MG, Moreira Â, Guimarães M, Nora M, Sousa M, Oliveira PF, et al. Body mass index is associated with region-dependent metabolic reprogramming of adipose tissue. BBA Clin. 2017;8:1-6.

Carey VJ, Walters EE, Colditz GA, Solomon CG, Willet WC, Rosner BA, et al. Body fat distribution and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women the nurses' health study. Am J Epidemiol. 1997;145:614-9.

Wang Y, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. Comparison of abdominal adiposity and overall obesity in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes among men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81:555-63.

Yusuf S, Hawken S, Ounpuu S. Obesity and the risk of myocardial infarction in 27000 participants from 52 countries: a case-control study. Lancet. 2005;366:1640-9.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (2010) Management of obesity. a national clinical guideline Edinburgh: SIGN; Available at: http://www.sign.ac.uk/pdf/sign115.pdf.

Stevens J, Truesdale KP, McClain JE, Cai J. The definition of weight maintenance. Int J Obes. 2006;30(3):391-9.

Dickinson HO, Mason JM, Nicolson DJ, Campbell F, Beyer FR, Cook JV, et al. Lifestyle interventions to reduce raised blood pressure: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Hypertens. 2006;24(2):215-33.

Behl S, Misra A. Management of obesity in adult Asian Indians. Indian Heart J. 2017;69(4):539-44.

Barao K, Forones NM. Body mass index: different nutritional status according to WHO, OPAS and Lipschitz classifications in gastrointestinal cancer patients. Arq Gastroenterol. 2012;49(2):169-71.

WHO Expert Consultation Appropriate body-mass index for Asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies. Lancet. 2004;363(9403):157-63.

Llido LO, Mirasol R. Comparison of body mass index based nutritional status using WHO criteria versus “Asian” criteria: report from the Philippines. PhilSPEN Online J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2011:1-8.

Hruby A, Hu FB. The epidemiology of obesity: a big picture. Pharmacoeconomics. 2015;33(7):673-89.

National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3). Available at:https://dhsprogramcom/pubs/pdf/FRIND3/FRIND3-Vol1[Oct-17-2008]pdf.

Dandona R, Pandeya A, Dandonaa L. A review of national health surveys in India. Bulletin of the World Health Organization; Type: Policy and practice Article ID: BLT.15.158493.

Kelishadi R, Alikhani S, Delavari A, Alaedini F. Obesity and associated lifestyle behaviours in Iran: findings from the first National non-communicable disease risk factor surveillance survey. Public Health Nutr. 2008;246-51.

Girdhar S, Sharma S, Chaudhary A, Bansal P, Satija M. An epidemiological study of overweight and obesity among women in an urban area of north India. Indian J Community Med. 2016;41(2):154-7.

Rössner S. Social aspects of obesity. Med. Metab.1998;1;54-7.

Nurwanti E, Uddin M, Chang JS, Hadi H, Syed-Abdul S, Su EC, et al. Roles of sedentary behaviors and unhealthy foods in increasing the obesity risk in adult men and women: a cross-sectional national study. Nutr. 2018;10(6):31.

Demissie M, Milewicz A. Hormonal disorders of new obesity. Diabetol Prakt. 2003;3:207-9.

Milewicz A, Tworowska U, Demissie M. Menopausual obesity-myth or fact? Climacteric. 2001;4:273-83.

Dodd JM, Turnbull DA, McPhee AJ, Wittert G, Crowther CA, Robinson JS. Limiting weight gain in overweight and obese women during pregnancy to improve health outcomes: the LIMIT randomised controlled trial. BMC Preg Childbirth. 2011;11(1):79.

Padhye SM. Pattern of body mass index and common health problems in women of reproductive age group in a private clinic in Kathmandu. JNMA J Nepal Med Assoc. 2017;56(207):352-6.

Tremblay MS, Willms JD. Secular trends in the body mass index of Canadian children. CMAJ. 2000;163:1429-33.

Reilly J. Epidemic of obesity in UK children. Lancet. 1999;354:1874-5.

Ojofeitimi EO, Olugbenga-Bello AI, Adekanle DA, Adeomi AA. Pattern and determinants of obesity among adolescent females in private and public schools in the Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria: a comparative study. J Public Health Africa. 2011;2(1):e11.

Hawkes C. Uneven dietary development: linking the policies and processes of globalization with the nutrition transition, obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. Global Health. 2006;28:2-4.

Elloumi L, van Beijnum BJ, Hermens H. Exploratory study of a virtual community for physical activity. Health Technol (Berl). 2018;8(1):81-95.

Healy GN, Wijndaele K, Dunstan DW, Shaw JE, Salmon J, Zimmet PZ, et al. Objectively measured sedentary time, physical activity, and metabolic risk: the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab). Diabetes Care. 2008;31:369-71.

World Health Organization. Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health. 1. Diet 2. Exercise 3. Health promotion 4. National health programs 5. International cooperation. ISBN 92 4 159222 2 (LC/NLM classification: QT 180).

Hayes T, Nahar VK, Sharma M. Predicting physical activity behavior in African American females: using multi theory model. J Res Health Sci. 2018;18(2):e00410.






Original Research Articles