Association Between Health Literacy and BMI: A Cross-Sectional Study of Suburban Adult Population in Bangladesh

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Md. Karimul Islam
Nishad Nasrin
Abu Jaber
Md. Tanvir Hossain


Bangladesh is experiencing heightened incidences of obesity among its urban population. This study investigated the relationship between health literacy and body mass index (BMI) among the suburban adult population in the southwestern region of Bangladesh. Data were collected from 196 random participants. Inferential statistics and multinomial logistic regression were used to analyze the data. The BMI was calculated using the World Health Organization standard, and a health literacy index was constructed using the principal component analysis. Results obtained from the relative risk ratio suggested that a higher level of health literacy directly correlates with a reduction of the obesity, overweight, and underweight categories. The health literacy indicators, including healthy behavior (0.38, p<0.01), nutrition knowledge (0.47, p<0.10), and preventive care knowledge (0.47, p<0.05), significantly influenced BMI. Furthermore, years of schooling have a substantial negative effect on the underweight category (0.71, p<0.01). The government should launch health literacy campaigns at all levels of education and promote the campaigns through social and mass media. A longitudinal study on nationally representative samples should be carried out to assess the impact of health literacy campaigns on the overall health and well-being of the Bangladeshi population.


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Nishad Nasrin, Economics Discipline, Social Science School, Khulna University, Bangladesh

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