Anthropometric Profiles of Child-bearing Women in Ghana — Past Measurements and Future Trends

Richard Ofori-Asenso1, *, Akosua Adom Agyeman1, George Ashiagbor2
1 Research Unit, Health Policy Consult, P. O. Box WJ 537 Weija, Accra, Ghana
2 Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

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© 2017 Ofori-Asenso et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Research Unit, Health Policy Consult, P. O. Box WJ 537 Weija, Accra, Ghana; Tel: +233546228756; Fax: +233546228762; Email:



Temporal changes in anthropometric indices of Ghanaian adults have not been thoroughly researched. In this study, we present results and projections of mean BMI, underweight and obesity prevalence among women (15-49 years) in Ghana.


This is a secondary analysis of the mean BMI, underweight and obesity prevalence data reported in the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) studies in Ghana between 1993 and 2014. Using a simple linear change (regression) model approach, we determine the rate of change of the anthropometric measures and project estimates for the years 2020, 2025 and 2030.


Between 1993 and 2014, the mean BMI among Ghanaian women increased by 3 kg/m2 and by 2030, the average Ghanaian woman will have a BMI of around 27.3 Kg/m2. Underweight prevalence has decreased by about 45% from 11.3% in 1993/1998 to 6.2% in 2014 and projected to reach 2.2% by 2030. Obesity on the other hand has seen significant increase of over 400% from 3.4% in 1993 to 15.3% in 2014. By 2030, nearly 23% of Ghanaian women are projected to be obese.


Among Ghanaian women, obesity has now outstripped underweight in terms of public health significance. Greater emphasis and urgent measures to address the rising obesity in this country are needed. While the observed trends should inform future healthcare planning and resource allocation, this should in no way undermine undernutrition prevention efforts, as preventing undernourishment is still a good investment for this country. Rather, a broader perspective that seeks to address both undernutrition and overnutrition healthy individuals should be rigorously pursued.

Keywords: Anthropometry, Body Mass Index, Undernutrition, Obesity, Trend analysis, Nutrition transition, Ghana.