Association between parity and obesity: A cross sectional study on 6447 Iranian Females


Parity; Obesity; Iranian women; Body mass index.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between parity and obesity in Iranian women. 

 Methods: In a cross-sectional study, a total of 6447 urban women aged 40-65  were studied. A face-to-face interview was conducted by trained personnel. Statistical associations between parity and obesity using the multivariate logistic regression model were examined.

 Results: The mean age of the enrolled women was 48.4 ± 6.1 years. The mean BMI was 27.55 ± 4.5 Kg/m2. Of the total participants enrolled, 3517 (54.6%) had <3 parities, while 2930 (54.4%) had ≥3 parities. The prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥30 Kg/m2) and overweight (30> BMI ≥25) was 27.50 % (95% CI 26.85-28.15) and 43.70% (95% CI 42.98-44.42), respectively. After adjustment for potential confounders, women with ≥3 parities were at higher risk of being obese (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.05-1.35).

 Conclusion: There was a statistically significant positive association between higher parity and obesity. According to the results of this study, Body Mass Index (BMI) is associated with high parity in Iranian women. It is recommended that health policymakers plan appropriate weight loss programs for postpartum.


1. Malik VS, Willett WC, Hu FB. Global obesity: trends, risk factors and policy implications. Nature Reviews Endocrinology. 2013;9(1):13-27.
2. Wang H, Naghavi M, Allen C, Barber RM, Bhutta ZA, Carter A, et al. Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The lancet. 2016;388(10053):1459-544.
3. Organization WH. Obesity and Overweight factsheet from the WHO. Health. 2017.
4. Bastien M, Poirier P, Lemieux I, Després J-P. Overview of epidemiology and contribution of obesity to cardiovascular disease. Progress in cardiovascular diseases. 2014;56(4):369-81.
5. Bahrami H, Sadatsafavi M, Pourshams A, Kamangar F, Nouraei M, Semnani S, et al. Obesity and hypertension in an Iranian cohort study; Iranian women experience higher rates of obesity and hypertension than American women. BMC public health. 2006;6(1):158.
6. Moll U, Olsson H, Landin-Olsson M. Impact of Pregestational Weight and Weight Gain during Pregnancy on Long-Term Risk for Diseases. PloS one. 2017;12(1):e0168543.
7. Dahlgren J. Pregnancy and insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome and related disorders. 2006;4(2):149-52.
8. Kirkegaard H, Stovring H, Rasmussen KM, Abrams B, Sørensen TI, Nohr EA. How do pregnancy-related weight changes and breastfeeding relate to maternal weight and BMI-adjusted waist circumference 7 y after delivery? Results from a path analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2014;99(2):312-9.
9. Koch E, Bogado M, Araya F, Romero T, Diaz C, Manriquez L, et al. Impact of parity on anthropometric measures of obesity controlling by multiple confounders: a cross-sectional study in Chilean women. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 2008;62(5):461-70.
10. Linné Y, Barkeling B, Rössner S. Long‐term weight development after pregnancy. Obesity Reviews. 2002;3(2):75-83.
11. Mansour A, Ajeel N. Parity is associated with increased waist circumference and other anthropometric indices of obesity. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. 2009;14(2-3):e50-e5.
12. Martínez ME, Pond E, Wertheim BC, Nodora JN, Jacobs ET, Bondy M, et al. Association between parity and obesity in Mexican and Mexican–American women: findings from the Ella Binational breast cancer study. Journal of immigrant and minority health. 2013;15(2):234-43.
13. Robinson WR, Cheng MM, Hoggatt KJ, Stürmer T, Siega‐Riz AM. Childbearing is not associated with young women's long‐term obesity risk. Obesity. 2014;22(4):1126-32.
14. Abrams B, Heggeseth B, Rehkopf D, Davis E. Parity and body mass index in US women: A prospective 25‐year study. Obesity. 2013;21(8):1514-8.
15. Heber D. An integrative view of obesity. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2009;91(1):280S-3S.
16. Deurenberg P, Yap M, Van Staveren WA. Body mass index and percent body fat: a meta analysis among different ethnic groups. International journal of obesity. 1998;22(12):1164.
17. Kopelman PG. Obesity as a medical problem. Nature. 2000;404(6778):635.
18. Mannan M, Doi SA, Mamun AA. Association between weight gain during pregnancy and postpartum weight retention and obesity: a bias-adjusted meta-analysis. Nutrition reviews. 2013;71(6):343-52.
19. Lee SK, Sobal J, Frongillo EA, Olson CM, Wolfe WS. Parity and body weight in the United States: differences by race and size of place of residence. Obesity research. 2005;13(7):1263-9.
20. Kim SA, Yount KM, Ramakrishnan U, Martorell R. The relationship between parity and overweight varies with household wealth and national development. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2006;36(1):93-101.
21. Hajiahmadi M, Shafi H, Delavar MA. Impact of parity on obesity: a cross-sectional study in Iranian women. Medical Principles and Practice. 2015;24(1):70-4.
22. Rebholz SL, Jones T, Burke KT, Jaeschke A, Tso P, D'Alessio DA, et al. Multiparity leads to obesity and inflammation in mothers and obesity in male offspring. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2012;302(4):E449-E57.
23. Luoto R, Männistö S, Raitanen J. Ten-year change in the association between obesity and parity: results from the National FINRISK Population Study. Gender medicine. 2011;8(6):399-406.
24. Weng HH, Bastian LA, Taylor Jr DH, Moser BK, Ostbye T. Number of children associated with obesity in middle-aged women and men: results from the health and retirement study. Journal of Women's Health. 2004;13(1):85-91.
25. Li W, Wang Y, Shen L, Song L, Li H, Liu B, et al. Association between parity and obesity patterns in a middle-aged and older Chinese population: a cross-sectional analysis in the Tongji-Dongfeng cohort study. Nutrition & metabolism. 2016;13(1):72.
26. Mamun A, McIntyre D, Najman J, Williams G, Khatun M, Finlay J, et al. Young adult pregnancy status and the risk of developing overweight and obesity among women and men. Clinical obesity. 2018.
27. Magiakou MA, Mastorakos G, Rabin D, Margioris AN, Dubbert B, Calogero AE, et al. The maternal hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis in the third trimester of human pregnancy. Clinical endocrinology. 1996;44(4):419-28.
28. Pasquali R, Vicennati V, Cacciari M, Pagotto U. The hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal axis activity in obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2006;1083(1):111-28.