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Is the positive association between middle-income and rich household wealth and adult sub-Saharan African women’s overweight status modified by the level of education attainment? A cross-sectional study of 22 countries

Posted on 2020-06-26 - 03:55
Abstract Background Previous studies show a positive association between household wealth and overweight in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries; however, the manner in which this relationship differs in the presence of educational attainment has not been well-established. This study examined the multiplicative effect modification of educational attainment on the association between middle-income and rich household wealth and overweight status among adult females in 22 SSA countries. We hypothesized that household wealth was associated with a greater likelihood of being overweight among middle income and rich women with lower levels of educational attainment compared to those with higher levels of educational attainment. Methods Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from 2006 to 2016 for women aged 18–49 years in SSA countries were used for the study. Overweight was defined as a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m2. Household wealth index tertile was the exposure and educational attainment, the effect modifier. Potential confounders included age, ethnicity, place of residence, and parity. Descriptive analysis was conducted, and separate logistic regression models were fitted for each of the 22 SSA countries to compute measures of effect modification and 95% confidence intervals. Analysis of credibility (AnCred) methods were applied to assess the intrinsic credibility of the study findings and guide statistical inference. Results The prevalence of overweight ranged from 12.6% in Chad to 56.6% in Swaziland. Eighteen of the 22 SSA countries had measures of effect modification below one in at least one wealth tertile. This included eight of the 12 low-income countries and all 10 middle income countries. This implied that the odds of overweight were greater among middle-income and rich women with lower levels of educational attainment than those with higher educational attainment. On the basis of the AnCred analysis, it was found that the majority of the study findings across the region provided some support for the study hypothesis. Conclusions Women in higher wealth strata and with lower levels of educational attainment appear to be more vulnerable to overweight compared to those in the same wealth strata but with higher levels of educational attainment in most low- and middle- income SSA countries.

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