Background: Overweight and obesity in adults are on the rise around the world, contributing significantly to noncommunicable disease deaths and disability. Women bear a disproportionate burden of obesity when compared with men, which has a negative impact on their health and the health of their children. The objective of this study was to examine the country-level prevalence of overweight and obesity among women of reproductive age in sub-Saharan countries. Methods: A total of 504,264 women from 2006 to 2021 were examined using cross-sectional Demographic and Health Surveys data. The outcome variables for this study include: (a) women who are overweight according to body mass index (BMI) (25.0–29.9kg/m2); (b) women who are obese according to BMI (≥30.0 kg/m2). Results: Eswatini (28%), Mauritania (27%), South Africa (26%), Gabon, Lesotho and Ghana (25% each) had the highest prevalences of overweight. In addition, obesity prevalence was highest in South Africa (36%), Mauritania (27%), Eswatini (23%), Lesotho (20%), Gabon (19%) and Ghana (15%), respectively. Overweight and obesity were more prevalent among older women, those living in urban areas, women with secondary/higher education and those in the richest household wealth quintiles. Conclusion: The risk factors for overweight and obesity, as well as the role that lifestyle changes play in preventing obesity and the associated health risks, must be made more widely known. In order to identify those who are at risk of obesity, we also recommend that African countries regularly measure their citizens’ biometric characteristics.
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