Background Research in developed countries has demonstrated an association of varying degrees between watching TV and the risk of being overweight and obese. However, there is no evidence of such an association in the context of the South Asian population.
Objective To investigate whether watching TV increases the risk of being overweight and obese among women in Bangladesh.
Setting Rural and urban areas in Bangladesh.
Participants Participants were 16 624 non-pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years.
Methods The study was based on cross-sectional data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) conducted in 2014. The main outcome variables were overweight and obesity measured by body mass index. Data were analysed by using descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation and multivariable logistic regression models.
Results The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the sample population were, respectively, 4.5% (4.18% to 4.82%) and 20% (95% CI 19.39% to 20.61%). In the multivariable analysis, no statistically significant association was found between watching TV and being overweight. However, the odds of being obese among rural women were 63% higher (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.625, 95% CI 1.179 to 2.241) among those who watched less than once a week, and 68% (AOR 1.683, 95% CI 1.029 to 2.751) higher among women who watched TV at least once a week compared to those who did not watch TV at all. Urban women who watched TV at least once a week were 67% more likely to be obese (AOR 1.665, 95% CI 1.079 to 2.568) compared to those who did not watch at all.
Conclusions Prevalence of overweight and obesity has risen considerably among women aged between 15 and 49 years since the previous estimates based on BDHS data. Frequent TV watching was associated with a higher risk of being obese among adult women in rural areas.
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