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30% of Nairobi’s urban population is obese

One in three (32.8%) women in Kenya are either overweight or obese. File picture

One in three (32.8%) women in Kenya are either overweight or obese. File picture

Published May 19, 2022


Cape Town - Globally, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In Kenya, 20.5% of women are overweight, while 9.1% are reported to be obese, the Africa Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention says.

An individual with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 is generally considered to be obese, according to prominent health journals.

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The Africa CDC says that although overweight and obesity was not significantly associated with participants’ region of residence, those from Nairobi and Central region had a high rate of overweight and obesity, 47% or more.


“Research on obesity in Kenya is dominated by studies conducted in Nairobi region, with findings suggesting a need for more regionally representative studies,” says the Africa CDC.

So who are the three most obese countries in Africa?

According to data provided by World Atlas, Libya, Egypt and South Africa are the continent’s heaviest countries.


According to data, Libya ranks as the 16th most obese country in the world, and the fattest country in Africa, with an adult prevalence obesity rate of 32.5.

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Egypt is the second heaviest nation in Africa. The traditional Arab diet, which is heavy in carbohydrates, sugar, and meat, is held primarily responsible for obesity in Egypt, say health practitioners.

South Africa

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With an obesity rate of 28.3%, South Africa is sub-Saharan Africa’s heaviest nation, and the third most obese country on the continent. Obesity affects more women than men in South Africa, as well as a significant population of the country's children, says “World Atlas”.

Research shows that obesity increases an individual's risk of developing many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and several types of cancer, writes World

In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were either overweight or obese; of whom more than 650 million were obese, according to the Africa CDC.

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