The Open Public Health Journal

ISSN: 1874-9445 ― Volume 14, 2021

Socio-demographic Determinants of Overweight and Obesity Among Mothers of Primary School Children Living in a Rural Health and Demographic Surveillance System Site, South Africa

Perpetua Modjadji1, *
1 School of Health Care Sciences, Department of Public Health, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, 1 Molotlegi Street, Ga-Rankuwa, 0208, South Africa



South Africa continues to have significant high prevalence rate of overweight/obesity relative to its African counterparts, particularly, among women, owing to several factors such as nutrition transition and socio-demographic factors. Nonetheless, little is known about the socio-demographic determinants of overweight/obesity, especially in the rural settings.


To investigate the socio-demographic determinants of overweight and obesity among mothers of primary school children living in a rural Dikgale Health and Demographic Surveillance System Site in South Africa


A cross-sectional study was conducted among 508 mothers of primary school children from a rural setting. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated by dividing the body weight by height squared and the prevalence of overweight (BMI ≥ 25–29.9 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) were determined. The socio-demographic variables were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to ascertain any relationships with overweight/obesity as an outcome measure. Data were analyzed using STATA 14.


The response rate was 98%. The mean age of mothers was 37±7years. Mothers were charecterized by singlehood (63%), unemployed (82%) and low literacy (41%). The odds of being overweight/obese were significantly higher among mothers living with spouses as household heads (AOR=3.5 95%CI: 1.97-6.31), had two to three pregnancies (AOR=2.4, 95%CI: 1.40-4.20), and five pregnancies and above (AOR=2.5, 95%CI: 1.0-6.37). Mothers who lived in households with a monthly income between $344.84 and $524,60 were less likely to be overweight or obese (AOR=0.31 95%CI: 0.14-0.70). Additionally, age, marital status and age at first pregnancy were significantly associated with being overweight/obese (χ2 test, p<0.05).


The key determinants of overweight/obesity were living in spouse-headed household, household monthly income and more than one pregnancy. Evidence-based strategies that focus on strengthening the social aspects while addressing overweight and obesity among mothers of primary school children living in a rural Dikgale HDSS site, South Africa.

Keywords: Socio-demographic factors, Obstetric history, Overweight/obesity, Mothers of primary school children, Rural Dikgale HDSS site, South Africa.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 13
First Page: 518
Last Page: 528
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-13-518
DOI: 10.2174/1874944502013010518

Article History:

Received Date: 9/5/2020
Revision Received Date: 7/8/2020
Acceptance Date: 14/8/2020
Electronic publication date: 20/10/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2020 Perpetua Modjadji.

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 Department of Public Health, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, School of Health Care Sciences, PO Box 215, Ga-Rankuwa MEDUNSA, 0204, South Africa; Tel: +2712 521 3664; E-mail:

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