The Independent Effects of Educational Attainment and Mass Media Exposure on Overweight and Obesity Among Bangladeshi Women: A Rural-Urban Comparison

Main Article Content

Arif Ahmed
Mohammad S. Zahangir


Problems regarding obesity and being overweight are growing, not only in industrialized countries but also in developing countries. This study aimed to examine the effects of education and mass media on urban and rural women suffering from weight issues and obesity in Bangladesh, a developing country. The data were from the 2017 Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Bangladesh among women aged 15–49. The data were analyzed using the chi-square test and multinomial logistic regression (MLR). The prevalence of obesity and being overweight was higher among urban women (23.4% and 36.7%, respectively) than among rural women (12.5% and 32.7%, respectively). Model 1 provides unadjusted odds ratios (ORs), while Models 2, 3, and 4 provide adjusted ORs obtained by MLR for overweight and obesity. According to Model 4, the ORs for obesity and being overweight among women with higher education were higher in urban areas (OR = 3.65 and 1.93, respectively) than in rural areas (OR = 2.14 and 1.58, respectively). The corresponding ORs for women exposed to mass media were 1.78 and 1.17 in urban areas and 1.65 and 1.30 in rural areas. Women with higher education levels and exposure to mass media have a higher risk of being overweight and obese. Appropriate health promotion interventions based on education and mass media should work to reduce this problem.

Article Details

How to Cite
Ahmed, A., & Zahangir, M. S. . (2023). The Independent Effects of Educational Attainment and Mass Media Exposure on Overweight and Obesity Among Bangladeshi Women: A Rural-Urban Comparison. Journal of Population and Social Studies [JPSS], 31, 553–570. Retrieved from
Research Articles
Author Biography

Arif Ahmed, Department of Food and Nutrition Science, London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism, University of West London, London, UK

Corresponding author


• Alam, M. J. B., Alam, M. J. B., Rahman, M. H., Khan, S. K., & Munna, G. M. (2006). Unplanned urbanization: Assessment through calculation of environmental degradation index. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 3(2), 119–130.

• Al Kibria, G. M., Swasey, K., Hasan, M. Z., Sharmeen, A., & Day, B. (2019). Prevalence and factors associated with underweight, overweight and obesity among women of reproductive age in India. Global Health Research and Policy, 4(1), Article 24.

• Assari, S. (2019). Education attainment and obesity: Differential returns based on sexual orientation. Behavioral Sciences, 9(2), Article 16.

• Atienza, A. A., Yaroch, A. L., Mâsse, L. C., Moser, R. P., Hesse, B. W., & King, A. C. (2006). Identifying sedentary subgroups: The National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends survey. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 31(5), 383–390.

• Banik, S., & Rahman, M. (2018). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Bangladesh: A systematic review of the literature. Current Obesity Reports, 7(4), 247–253.

• Biswas, T., Uddin, M. J., Mamun, A. Al, Pervin, S., & Garnett, S. P. (2017). Increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in Bangladeshi women of reproductive age: Findings from 2004 to 2014. PLOS ONE, 12(7), Article e0181080.

• Boyce, T. (2007). The media and obesity. Obesity Reviews, 8(S1), 201–205.

• Bruemmer, B., Harris, J., Gleason, P., Boushey, C. J., Sheean, P. M., Archer, S., & Horn, L. V. A. N. (2009). Publishing nutrition research: A review of epidemiologic methods. Journal of American Dietetic Association, 109(10), 1728–1737.

• Caballero, B. (2007). The global epidemic of obesity: An overview. Epidemiologic Reviews, 29(1), 1–5.

• Campbell, T., & Campbell, A. (2007). Emerging disease burdens and the poor in cities of the developing world. Journal of Urban Health, 84(1), 54–64.

• Chan, Y. Y., Lim, K. K., Lim, K. H., Teh, C. H., Kee, C. C., Cheong, S. M., Khoo, Y. Y., Baharudin, A., Ling, M. Y., Omar, M. A., & Ahmad, N. A. (2017). Physical activity and overweight/obesity among Malaysian adults: Findings from the 2015 National Health and morbidity survey (NHMS). BMC Public Health, 17(1), Article 733.

• Chatterjee, S., & Hadi, A. S. (2006). Regression Analysis (4th ed.). John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

• Chowdhury, M. A. B., Uddin, M. J., Khan, H. M. R., & Haque, M. R. (2015). Type 2 diabetes and its correlates among adults in Bangladesh: A population based study. BMC Public Health, 15(1), Article 1070.

• Chung, W., Lim, S. J., Lee, S., Kim, R., & Kim, J. (2017). Gender-specific interactions between education and income in relation to obesity: A cross-sectional analysis of the fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES V). BMJ Open, 7, Article e014276.

• Cohen, A. K., Rai, M., Rehkopf, D. H., & Abrams, B. (2013). Educational attainment and obesity: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 14(12), 989–1005.

• Crosnoe, R. (2007). Gender, obesity, and education. Sociology of Education, 80 (3), 241–260.

• Day, K. (2018). Physical environment correlates of physical activity in developing countries: A review. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 15(4), 303–314.

• Dejong, W. (1980). The stigma of obesity: The consequences of naive assumptions concerning the causes of physical deviance. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 21(1), 75–87.

• Delfino, L. D., dos Santos Silva, D. A., Tebar, W. R., Zanuto, E. F., Codogno, J. S., Fernandes, R. A., & Christofaro, D. G. (2018). Screen time by different devices in adolescents: Association with physical inactivity domains and eating habits. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 58(3), 318–325.

• Foley, B., Engelen, L., Gale, J., Bauman, A., & Mackey, M. (2016). Sedentary behavior and musculoskeletal discomfort are reduced when office workers trial an activity-based work environment. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58(9), 924–931.

• Ghose, B. (2017). Frequency of TV viewing and prevalence of overweight and obesity among adult women in Bangladesh : A cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 7, Article e014399.

• Ghose, B., & Yaya, S. (2018). Media use and excess body weight among women in Nigeria : a cross- sectional study. BMJ Open, 8, Article e020802).

• Gomes Maia, E., Dias Gomes, F. M., Alves, M. H., Huth, Y. R., & Moreira Claro. (2016). Hábito de assistir à televisão e sua relação com a alimentação: resultados do período de 2006 a 2014 em capitais brasileiras [Watching television and eating habits: The results from 2006 to 2014 in Brazilian state capitals]. Cadernos de Saúde Pública, 32(9), 1–14.

• Grøntved, A., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: A meta-analysis. American Medical Association, 305(23), 2448–2455.

• Heeringa, S. G., West, B. T., & Berglund, P. A. (2010). Applied survey data analysis. Chapman and Hall/CRC.

• Hoque, M. E., Hasan, M. T., Rahman, M., Long, K. Z., & Al Mamun, A. (2017). Double burden of underweight and overweight among Bangladeshi adults differs between men and women: Evidence from a nationally representative survey. Public Health Nutrition, 20(12), 2183–2191.

• Janjua, N. Z., Mahmood, B., Bhatti, J. A., & Khan, M. I. (2015). Association of household and community socioeconomic position and urbanicity with underweight and overweight among women in Pakistan. PLOS ONE, 10(4), Article e0122314.

• Kelly, T., Yang, W., Chen, C., Reynolds, K., & He, J. (2008). Global burden of obesity in 2005 and projections to 2030. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 1431–1437.

• Khan, M. M. A., Karim, M., Islam, A. Z., Islam, M. R., Khan, H. T. A., & Khalilullah, M. I. (2019). Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents in Bangladesh: Do eating habits and physical activity have a gender differential effect ? Journal of Biosocial Science, 51(6), 843–856.

• Khan, M. M. H., & Kraemer, A. (2009). Factors associated with being underweight, overweight and obese among ever-married non-pregnant urban women in Bangladesh. Singapore Medical Journal, 50(8), 804–813.

• Kim, T. J., Roesler, N. M., & von dem Knesebeck, O. (2017). Causation or selection – examining the relation between education and overweight/obesity in prospective observational studies: A meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 18(6), 660–672.

• Mazur, A., Caroli, M., Radziewicz-Winnicki, I., Nowicka, P., Weghuber, D., Neubauer, D., Dembiński, Ł., Crawley, F. P., White, M., & Hadjipanayis, A. (2018). Reviewing and addressing the link between mass media and the increase in obesity among European children: The European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP) and The European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) consensus statement. Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics, 107(4), 568–576.

• Mendez, M. A., Monteiro, C. A., & Popkin, B. M. (2005). Overweight exceeds underweight among women in most developing countries. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81(3), 714–721.

• Moniruzzaman, M., Ahmed, M. S. A. M., & Zaman, M. M. (2017). Physical activity levels and associated socio-demographic factors in Bangladeshi adults: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 17, Article 59.

• Moniruzzaman, M., Zaman, M. M., Islalm, M. S., Ahasan, H. A. M. N., Kabir, H., & Yasmin, R. (2016). Physical activity levels in Bangladeshi adults: Results from STEPS survey 2010. Public Health, 137, 131–138.

• National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT), and ICF. (2020, October). Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2017-18. NIPORT and ICF.

• Ozodiegwu, I. D., Doctor, H. V., Quinn, M., Mercer, L. D., Omoike, O. E., & Mamudu, H. M. (2020). 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. BMC Public Health, 20, Article 996.

• Park, J. H., Moon, J. H., Kim, H. J., Kong, M. H., & Oh, Y. H. (2020). Sedentary lifestyle: Overview of updated evidence of potential health risks. Korean Journal of Family Medicine, 41(6), 365–373.

• Piirtola, M., Kaprio, J., Svedberg, P., Silventoinen, K., & Ropponen, A. (2020). Associations of sitting time with leisure-time physical inactivity, education, and body mass index change. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 30(2), 322–331.

• Popkin, B. M., Adair, L. S., & Ng, S. W. (2012). Global nutrition transition and the pandemic of obesity in developing countries. Nutrition Reviews, 70(1), 3–21.

• Rahim, M. A., Hussain, A., Azad Khan, A. K., Sayeed, M. A., Keramat Ali, S. M., & Vaaler, S. (2007). Rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes in rural Bangladesh: A population based study. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 77(2), 300–305.

• Rahman, A., & Alam, K. (2014). State, capital and media in the age of globalization: An inquiry into the rapid growth of private TV channels of Bangladesh. Journal of Social Science Review, 30(2), 291–306.

• Rosiek, A., Maciejewska, N. F., Leksowski, K., Rosiek-Kryszewska, A., & Leksowski, Ł. (2015). Effect of television on obesity and excess of weight and consequences of health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(8), 9408–9426.

• Saquib, N., Khanam, M. A., Saquib, J., Anand, S., Chertow, G. M., Barry, M., Ahmed, T., & Cullen, M. R. (2013). High prevalence of type 2 diabetes among the urban middle class in Bangladesh. BMC Public Health, 13(1), Article 1032.

• Tanwi, T. S., Chakrabarty, S., & Hasanuzzaman, S. (2019). Double burden of malnutrition among ever-married women in Bangladesh: A pooled analysis. BMC Women’s Health, 19, Article 24.

• Tebekaw, Y., Teller, C., & Colón-Ramos, U. (2014). The burden of underweight and overweight among women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. BMC Public Health, 14, Article 1126.

• Tu, R., Li, Y., Shen, L., Yuan, H., Mao, Z., Liu, X., Zhang, H., Zhang, L., Li, R., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., & Wang, C. (2019). The prevalence and influencing factors of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the rural population in China: The Henan rural cohort study. BMJ Open, 9, Article e029590.

• Wardle, J., Waller, J., & Jarvis, M. J. (2002). Sex differences in the association of socio-economic status with obesity. American Journal of Public Health, 92(8), 1299–1304.

• WHO Expert Consultation. (2004). Appropriate body-mass index for Asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies. The Lancet, 363(9403), 157–163.

• World Health Organization. (2021, June 9). Obesity and overweight.

• Zhang, N., & Ma, G. (2018). Childhood obesity in China-trends, risk factors, policies and actions. Global Health Journal, 2(1), 1–13.