Assessment of workhour feeding practices, healthy behaviour score and body mass index of physicians in Northern Nigeria: a cross-sectional multi-centre study


Body Mass Index
Lifestyle behaviours
Feeding Practice


Background: The increasing obesity/overweight prevalence among health workers calls for an appraisal of their lifestyle. This study assessed medical practitioners' workhour feeding and lifestyle practices and explored the relationship between these practices and their body mass index (BMI).

Methods: The survey involved 321 medical practitioners selected from 9 northern Nigeria hospitals in 2021. Data collected included biodata, medication history, workhour feeding characteristics, lifestyle behaviours, blood pressure, height, and weight measurements. Data were analyzed using Epi info software (version 7).

Results: Most respondents were male (70.7%). Their mean age was 38±7.4 years. During their last workhours, 84.1% had lunch, 46.4% took sugary drinks, 2.7% brought lunch from home, and 1.3% took nothing. Only 18.7% patronize their hospital canteen weekly. Most reported healthy behaviour towards alcohol (99.7%) and, fruit/vegetable (54.8%) consumption, and smoking (98.4%), but only 22.4% were physically active. Their mean healthy behaviour score and BMI were 2.8±0.7 and 26.1±4.6 kg/m2, respectively. The obesity and overweight rates were 18.4% and 37.7%, respectively. Their source of lunch during workhours, age, sex, years of practice, employment duration, marital status, job category, systolic blood pressure, anti-hypertensive, and antidiabetic medication use were significantly associated with mean BMI. However, only antihypertensive medication use, being married, inadequate fruit/vegetable consumption and workhour sugary drinks consumption predicted obesity. The predictors of overweight/obese were long practice experience (<10y) and use of antihypertensive medications.

Conclusions: Overweight and obesity rates were high. Most were physically inactive. Workhour sugary drink consumption predicted obesity. Effective workplace and community interventions to improve practitioners' lifestyle behaviour and curtail obesity and overweight are needed.


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