• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
Loading data – please wait …

Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:24586
Area covered:National
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia 2016
Notes:NB. Combined adult data estimated. These estimates were calculated by weighting male and female survey results. Weighting based on World Bank Population % total female 2019 (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS - accessed 30.09.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-69
Sample size:9801
Area covered:National
References:Ethiopia 2015 STEPS Survey. https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/steps/Ethiopia_2015_STEPS_Report.pdf (Last accessed 10.08.20)
Notes:3977 Men, 5823 Women
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:26614
Area covered:National
References:DHS 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:5901
Area covered:National
References:Demographic Health Survey 2005
Notes:Other married women 15 - 49 years.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2000

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6493
References:SCN (2004). 5th Report on the World Nutrition Situation. Nutrition for Improved Development Outcomes. Appendix 11
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:11-15
Sample size:448
Area covered:Regional
References:Desalew A, Mandesh A, Semahegn A. Childhood overweight, obesity and associated factors among primary school children in dire dawa, eastern Ethiopia; a cross-sectional study.BMC Obes. 2017 Jun 1;4:20. doi: 10.1186/s40608-017-0156-2. eCollection 2017.
Notes:Region: Dire Dawa (Eastern Ethiopia), Small sample size, n= 448
Cutoffs:CDC

Overweight/obesity by education

Men, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:25586
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2016
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:25586
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2016
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:25629
Area covered:National
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia 2016
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:25629
Area covered:National
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia 2016
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:27614
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:27614
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:5901
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2005
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:25586
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2016
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:27614
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:5901
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2005
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 1987-1995

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:1774
Area covered:National
References:Ferro-Luzzi A, National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research, Rome, Italy. Unpublished data reanalysed 2001
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by region

Men, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:27614
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:27614
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:5901
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2005
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Men, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:27614
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:27614
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:5901
References:Demographic Health Survey, Ethiopia, 2005
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:11-15
Sample size:448
Area covered:Regional - Dire Dawa
References:Desalew A, Mandesh A, Semahegn A. Childhood overweight, obesity and associated factors among primary school children in dire dawa, eastern Ethiopia; a cross-sectional study.BMC Obes. 2017 Jun 1;4:20. doi: 10.1186/s40608-017-0156-2. eCollection 2017.
Notes:CDC Cut off SMALL SAMPLE
Cutoffs:CDC

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: Low Income

Health systems summary

Ethiopia is committed to having universal health coverage by 2035. Current efforts are focused on improving financial protection by reducing out of pocket (OOP) expenditure (which currently makes up one-third of total health expenditure). To reduce OOP expenditure and increase access to care, the Ethiopian government has endorsed and committed to community-based and social health insurance. The latter for those working in the formal sector and the former for those in the informal sector and rural areas (the majority). Since 2000, there has been great expansion of primary care, predominantly through the successful implementation the “Health Service Extension Programme” in rural areas.

It is estimated that 80% of diseases in Ethiopia are attributable to preventable conditions. These diseases are typically related to poverty and personal and environmental hygiene.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?No
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • Lack of financial investment
  • Lack of training and trained HCPs
  • Poor health literacy and behaviour
  • Food cost and availability
  • Obesity not recognised as a disease
  • Lack of treatment facilities
  • Lack of guidelines or treatment pathways
  • Failure to recognise or accept all treatment options

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Ethiopia has only recently started working on non-communicable diseases – previously, other diseases have been more of a priority. Still, stakeholders report that obesity is not yet considered a disease and rather, is considered a sign of wealth. As a country that is still working to eliminate malnutrition and undernutrition, obesity is considered a luxury. As a result, there is little being done around prevention with an exception being car-free days on Sundays in major cities.

Healthcare providers too do not consider or treat obesity as a disease, but it is felt that this is slowly changing. There is limited to no coverage for obesity treatment and so if treatment is received, it is paid for out of pocket at great expense to the individual.

According to stakeholders, people living with obesity only enter the system when they have comorbidities or complications (as obesity is not considered a problem by itself). Once in the system they tend to not be referred onto specialist obesity treatment. In fact, one stakeholder reported that for those without comorbidities, they only receive physical activity and dietary advice.

While there is a non-communicable disease strategy, there are no obesity prevention and management guidelines for healthcare professionals. There are also no specialist obesity professionals (which is reflective of the shortage of healthcare professionals overall) and no specialist obesity training

Based on interviews/survey returns from 4 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

Download this information as a PDF

Loading