Assessment of Body Mass Index (BMI) as a Measure of Socioeconomic Status (SES) of Adults in Ghana

Introduction: Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. There is a link between socioeconomic status of adults and their body weight. The study was carried out to ascertain how strongly BMI is associated with adult SES and also to determine the risks associated with the extremes BMI.

Method: It was a cross-sectional study of hundred adults in a commercial district of Accra, Ghana. The data on socioeconomic status was collected using WHO Stepwise questionnaire. The BMI values were computed using weight in kilograms and squared of height in metres (kg/m2). Standard procedures were used to measure the weight in kilogram and height in metres. The data was analyzed using SPSS and Microsoft Excel.

Results: About 54% of the respondents were in the low socioeconomic group based on their personal possessions and monthly incomes. About 65% of the respondents were overweight and 2% were underweight. The number of obese people were positively associated with the number of people of low socioeconomic status (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The level of education influences one’s occupation and income and finally one’s SES. Women in the lower socioeconomic group are more likely to be obese compared to their male counterparts who are more likely to be underweight. The BMI in this study was inversely proportional to the socioeconomic status levels of adults in community.

Author(s): Frederick Vuvor and Linda Fabea

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