Shortage of obesity awareness campaigns at antenatal clinics; women who were severely obese were 43%
less likely to achieve pregnancy than normal-weight women or women who
were considered overweight but not obese during the study. The
study is among the first to examine the relationship between body weight and infertility in women who ovulate in Harare Zimbabwe. In
Harare only five out of twenty-two antenatal clinics had obesity health
education talks and measured BMI for ovulating women. In 2018 this prompted an
investigation to determine knowledge, attitude and practices of women of child
bearing age on obesity and its impact on fertility at Mbuyanehanda Maternity
Analytical cross-sectional study was carried out. Three hundred and eighty-four
(384) participants were selected by proportional sampling from Mbuyanehanda
antenatal clinic. Questionnaires adapted from the World Health Organization Stepwise
approach to Surveillance non-communicable disease instrument and the Health
Belief model was used to collect data on knowledge, attitude and risk factors
of obesity on fertility in women of childbearing age. BMI measurements were
taken. Obesity was defined as BMI above 25.
The proportion of patients who were obese and had their BMI measured was 70%.
Only females were enrolled in the study. The statistically significant factors
associated with obesity were having heard about the risk obesity (AOR 3.1, 95%
C.I 1.7-5.4), knowing that weight check and control was important whilst on
childbearing age (AOR 1.8, 95% C.I 1.1-2.9) and health education on dangers of
obesity or high BMI (AOR 1.6 95% C.I 1.0-2.7).
There was a high proportion of elevated BMI amongst patients who were ignorant
of the dangers of obesity on fertility. Despite lack of knowledge on BMI
monitoring equipment and shortage of staff, majority of patients at
Mbuyanehanda maternity hospital of childbearing age were at risk of developing
infertility or childbearing complications because of inadequate knowledge on
obesity prevention and control. Health promotion and education on dangers of
obesity and body weight monitoring and the upgrading of health services factors
to improve the monitoring of BMI at maternal health clinics is necessary.
Further studies on factors associated with poor control of body weight amongst
female patients during child bearing age are needed.
Keywords: Body Mass Index (BMI), fertility, Health
Belief Model, Obesity.
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