Published: 2018-04-25

A study to assess knowledge and perception on obesity among female aged eighteen years and above living in ladies dorm at UEAB, Kenya

Poornima Ramasamy, Njeru David, Wafula Zipporah, Violah Kiplagat


Background: Obesity is an ongoing problem in the developed countries and it’s a new and growing problem in the developing countries. This study aimed to assess the knowledge and perception on obesity among female aged 18 years.

Methods: The study is a descriptive cross-sectional research design on 186 students of UEAB in 2017. In order to collect the data was used a self-administered questionnaire, which will be used to measure the knowledge level and perception to gather factual information about the respondents. This questionnaire will involve a set of closed-ended questions. The data were analysed using SPSS 23. The researchers used descriptive statistics including mean, median and mode.

Results: The knowledge on obesity, it was found that most of the participants have heard of obesity and they term it as the excessive fat accumulation to body. Participants also indicated that they knew the causes of obesity and in degrees of whether they agree or disagree, indicated that they strongly agreed and agreed that consumption of junk foods and lack of physical exercise caused obesity and they agreed that family history may also cause obesity. The perception on obesity, participants viewed obesity to be average among undergraduate ladies residing in ladies’ dorm. It was also revealed that 7.5 percent of the participants think they are obese and they are unsatisfied with their body weights.

Conclusions: The study exposes the lack of knowledge regarding obesity. However, perceptions of the participants were promising. This is because nearly all of them felt those who are not obese should be encouraged to maintain their weight and the overweight people should lose weight or be treated to achieve medical benefit.


Knowledge, Obesity, Perception, Undergraduate students

Full Text:



World Health Organization. Obesity: Definition of obesity and overweight. Redefining Obesity and its treatment, 2016.

Dauphinot V, Wolff H, Naudin F, Gueguen R, Sermet C, Gaspoz JM, et al. New obesity Body mass index threshold for self-reported data. J Epidemiology Community Health. 2009;63(2):128-132.

World Health Organization. Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic. Report of a WHO Consultation on Obesity. World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland, 2013.

World health Organization. Global Health Observatory Data (GHO), 2014.

Shell R. HIV/AIDS: A threat to the African renaissance?. 2000. Availbale at: /asl/info/renaissance.pdf.

Ziraba A, Fotso J, Ochako R. Overweight and obesity in urban Africa: A problem of the rich or the poor?. BMC Public Health. 2009;9:465:1-9.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and ICF Macro. Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09. Calverton, Maryland: KNBS and ICF Macro; 2010.

Malaza A, Mossong J. Hypertension and obesity in adults living in a high HIV prevalence rural area in South Africa. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(10)e47761:1-6.

Mitchell R, Lord S, Harvey L, Close J. Obesity and falls in older people: Fall risk and mediating factors. 6th Biennial Australian and New Zealand Fall Prevention Conference, Sydney, 2014.

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates. Obesity as a public health issue: A look at solutions. Available at: results.pdf. Accessed on February 2012.

Soliman PT, Bassett Jr RL, Wilson EB, Boyd-Rogers S, Schmeler KM, Milam MR, et al. Limited public knowledge of obesity and endometrial cancer risk: what women know. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2008 Oct 1;112(4):835-42.

Nitert MD, Foxcroft KF, Lust K, Fagermo N, Lawlor DA, O'Callaghan M, et al. Overweight and obesity knowledge prior to pregnancy: a survey study. BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2011 Dec;11(1):96.

Cardozo ER, Neff LM, Brocks ME, Ekpo GE, Dune TJ, Barnes RB, et al. Infertility patients' knowledge of the effects of obesity on reproductive health outcomes. American J Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2012 Dec 1;207(6):509-e1.

Meltzer AL, Novak SA, McNulty JK, Butler EA, Karney BR. Marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage. Health Psychol. 2013;32(7):824-7.