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BACKGROUND: While recent evidence suggests that the overall prevalence of overweight in young children in Bangladesh is low, little is known about variation in trends by sex, socioeconomic status, urbanicity, and region. We investigated the trends in overweight among children aged 24-59 months by these factors, using nationally representative samples from Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys (BDHS) between 2004 and 2014. METHODS: Data from four BDHS surveys conducted between 2004 and 2014, with valid height and weight measurements of children, were included in this study (n = 15,648). BMI was calculated and the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) was reported using the International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) classification system. To explore the association between socioeconomic status and childhood overweight, we used multivariable logistic regression. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of overweight among children aged 24-59 months increased from 1.60% (95% CI: 1.20-2.05%) in 2004 to 2.33% (95% CI: 1.82-2.76%) in 2014. Among girls, the overweight trend increased significantly (adjusted odds ratio (OR) comparing 2014 vs. 2004: 2.02 95% CI: 1.52-2.68), whereas among boys the trend remained steady. When compared with households with the poorest wealth index, households with richest wealth index had higher odds of childhood overweight among both boys (OR 2.39, 95% CI: 1.76-3.25) and girls (OR 1.86, 95% CI: 1.35-2.55). Higher household education level was also associated with childhood overweight. Subgroup analyses showed that relative inequalities by these factors increased between 2004 and 2014 when adjusted for potential confounders. CONCLUSIONS: There is a rising trend in overweight prevalence exclusively among girls aged 24-59 months in Bangladesh. Childhood overweight is associated with higher household education and wealth index, and the relative disparity by these factors appears to be increasing over time. These unmet inequalities should be considered while developing national public health programs and strategies.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Obes (Lond)

Publication Date