Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Being Overweight or Obese in Suriname

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Spencer, Nekeisha;
Bose-Duker, Theophiline
Jun 2021
This paper applies probit regression models to a nationally representative household survey dataset collected in 2016-2017 to analyze the relationships between various socio-demographic variables and adult Body Mass Index (BMI) in Suriname. Our results indicate that women, the elderly, and couples either married and/or living together are more likely to be obese or overweight. As expected, this is also true for individuals who have chronic illnesses. The analysis also finds that individuals who engage in a sport or in other forms of exercise, even if modest, have lower odds of being overweight or obese. Interestingly, the findings indicate that individuals who benefit from government social safety net programs are less likely to be associated with being overweight or obese. The results of this study have implications for the adjustment of current Surinamese nutritional guidelines as well as the design and implementation of targeted obesity-reduction policies that recognize that being overweight is influenced by various characteristics. Although the results are country-specific, they have the potential to influence action in all countries in the Caribbean that lack policies to address obesity.