Prevalence and factors associated with overweight and obesity in Kenya. Academic Article uri icon


  • Overweight and obesity rates continue to rise globally and are associated with increased chronic disease morbidity and mortality. There is evidence of high overweight and obesity prevalence in Kenya, however; a gap exists in the knowledge of national prevalence and predictors of overweight and obesity. This cross-sectional study examined data from the 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) Kenya STEPwise Survey-the first nationally representative survey to objectively measure body mass index (BMI) among Kenyan men and women. Descriptive and logistic regression analysis of 4,340 adults aged 18-69 years examined the prevalence, sociodemographic, and behavioral risk factors associated with having overweight or obesity (overweight/obesity) defined by WHO The mean BMI was 23.51 with 31.13% having overweight/obese. The likelihood of having overweight/obesity was significantly higher among married individuals [odds ratio (OR) = 1.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19, 2.66], women (OR = 4.08, 95% CI 3.02, 5.51), urban dwellers (OR = 1.70, 95% CI 1.28, 2.25) and middle wealth or higher (OR = 2.45, 95% CI 1.91, 3.14). The likelihood of having overweight/obesity increased by age, compared to 18-29-year olds; (30-44 years (OR = 2.05 95% CI 1.50, 2.80), 45-59-year olds (OR = 2.67, 95% CI 1.97, 3.63), 60-69-year olds (OR = 3.00, 95% CI 1.99, 4.51). Adults with completed primary education or more had higher odd of having overweight/obesity (OR = 2.15, 95% CI 1.72, 2.70). compared to adults with less than primary education. Likelihood of having Overweight/obesity was highest among women, urban residents, and individuals with high education and wealth. Future studies should ascertain drivers of overweight/obesity to inform Targeted and tailored interventions and policies amongst high-risk groups.

published proceedings

  • Prev Med Rep

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Mkuu, R., Barry, A., Yonga, G., Nafukho, F., Wernz, C., Gilreath, T., Chowdhury, M., & Shevon Harvey, I.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Mkuu, Rahma||Barry, Adam||Yonga, Gerald||Nafukho, Fredrick||Wernz, Cort||Gilreath, Tamika||Chowdhury, Muhammad AB||Shevon Harvey, Idethia

publication date

  • January 2021