To assess sociodemographic predictors of prevalence, incidence and remission of overweight including obesity among adults (aged ≥18 years) in rural Eastern India.
Prospective cohort study.
Birbhum Health and Demographic Surveillance System, West Bengal, India.
Self-weighted sample of 24 115 adults (men: 10915, women: 13200) enrolled in 2008 were followed up for body mass index (BMI) reassessment in 2017.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:
Measured BMI was categorised as: underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5-22.9 kg/m2) and overweight including obesity (≥23 kg/m2; hereinafter overweight). Incident overweight was defined as transition from normal weight in 2008 to overweight in 2017, whereas if overweight individuals in 2008 measured normal BMI in 2017, it was classified as remission from overweight.
In 2008, 10.1% of men and 14.6% of women were overweight, whereas 17.3% of men and 24.7% of women were overweight in 2017. At the same time, in 2017, 35.6% of men and 33.3% of women were underweight. Incident overweight was 19.0% among men and 27.2% among women, whereas remission among men was higher (15.4%) than women (11.5%). Women were more likely to be overweight in 2008 and to experience incident overweight than men. For men and women, education level and wealth were positively associated with prevalence and incidence of overweight. Remission from overweight was less likely in Sainthia, a business hub in the district, as compared with Mohammad Bazar, a more rural area.
A nutrition transition to higher risk of overweight is evident in this rural setting in India, especially among women and individuals with high socioeconomic status. At the same time, a high prevalence of underweight persists, resulting in a significant double burden. Culturally sensitive interventions that address both ends of the malnutrition spectrum should be prioritised.