• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Policies
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-69
Sample size:4206
Area covered:National
References:Malawi National STEPwise Survey for Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factors 2017 Report. https://extranet.who.int/ncdsmicrodata/index.php/catalog/629/download/5770 (Accessed 12.10.21)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Sample size:28891
Area covered:Regional
References:Price AJ, Crampin AC, Amberbir A et al. Prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, and cascade of care in sub-Saharan Africa: a cross-sectional, population-based study in rural and urban Malawi.Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2018 Jan 19. pii: S2213-8587(17)30432-1. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(17)30432-1. [Epub ahead of print]
Notes:Karonga District and Lilongwe city. 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 08.10.20)'
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:7180
Area covered:National in women aged 15-49
References:Demographic Health Survey 2015-16
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6684
Area covered:National
References:National Statistical Office (NSO) and ICF Macro. 2011. Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2010. Zomba, Malawi, and Calverton, Maryland, USA: NSO and ICF Macro.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:25-64
Sample size:4845
Area covered:National
References:NCD Steps 2009. Msyamboza KP, Kathyola D, Dzowela T. Anthropometric measurements and prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity in adult Malawians: nationwide population based NCD STEPS survey. Pan African Medical Journal. 2013; 15:108. doi:10.11604/pamj.2013.15.108.2622 http://www.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/article/15/108/full/ accessed 26th Nov 2013
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2004

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:9280
Area covered:National (MACRO)
References:Malawi Demographic Health Survey
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:6489
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.

Women, 1992

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:2323
References:Martorell R, Khan LK, Hughes ML, Grummer Strawn LM. Obesity in women from developing countries. EJCN (2000) 54;247-252
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2009

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:13-15
Sample size:2359
Area covered:National
References:Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS), available at https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/gshs/Malawi_2009_FS.pdf?ua=1 (last accessed 24.11.20)
Notes:WHO cutoffs.
Cutoffs:WHO

Overweight/obesity by education

Women, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:7180
Area covered:National (women 15-49 only)
References:Demographic Health Survey Malawi 2015-16
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6684
Area covered:National
References:National Statistical Office (NSO) and ICF Macro. 2011. Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2010. Zomba, Malawi, and Calverton, Maryland, USA: NSO and ICF Macro.
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
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, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:4206
Area covered:National
References:Malawi National STEPwise Survey for Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factors 2017 Report. https://extranet.who.int/ncdsmicrodata/index.php/catalog/629/download/5770 (Accessed 12.10.21)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:7180
Area covered:National (women 15-49 only)
References:Demographic Health Survey Malawi 2015-16
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
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 region

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-69
Sample size:4206
Area covered:National
References:Malawi National STEPwise Survey for Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factors 2017 Report. https://extranet.who.int/ncdsmicrodata/index.php/catalog/629/download/5770 (Accessed 12.10.21)
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:18+
Sample size:28891
Area covered:Regional
References:Price AJ, Crampin AC, Amberbir A et al. Prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, and cascade of care in sub-Saharan Africa: a cross-sectional, population-based study in rural and urban Malawi.Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2018 Jan 19. pii: S2213-8587(17)30432-1. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(17)30432-1. [Epub ahead of print]
Notes:Karonga District and Lilongwe city
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:18+
Sample size:28891
Area covered:Regional
References:Price AJ, Crampin AC, Amberbir A et al. Prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, and cascade of care in sub-Saharan Africa: a cross-sectional, population-based study in rural and urban Malawi.Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2018 Jan 19. pii: S2213-8587(17)30432-1. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(17)30432-1. [Epub ahead of print]
Notes:Karonga District and Lilongwe city
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:7180
Area covered:National (women 15-49 only)
References:Demographic Health Survey Malawi 2015-16
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:7180
Area covered:National (women 15-49 only)
References:Demographic Health Survey Malawi 2015-16
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6684
Area covered:National
References:National Statistical Office (NSO) and ICF Macro. 2011. Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2010. Zomba, Malawi, and Calverton, Maryland, USA: NSO and ICF Macro.
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
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

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-69
Sample size:4206
Area covered:National
References:Malawi National STEPwise Survey for Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factors 2017 Report. https://extranet.who.int/ncdsmicrodata/index.php/catalog/629/download/5770 (Accessed 12.10.21)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:7180
Area covered:National (women 15-49 only)
References:Demographic Health Survey Malawi 2015-16
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6684
Area covered:National
References:National Statistical Office (NSO) and ICF Macro. 2011. Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2010. Zomba, Malawi, and Calverton, Maryland, USA: NSO and ICF Macro.
Notes:Prevalence of overweight and obesity in females by wealth quintile Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

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)

Prevalence of less than daily fruit consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Global School-based Student Health Surveys. Beal et al (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption (% less-than-daily fruit consumption)

Prevalence of less than daily vegetable consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption (% less-than-daily vegetable consumption)

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

% Infants exclusively breastfed 0-5 months

Children, 2005-2020

Area covered:National
References:Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2015-16. Zomba, Malawi, and Rockville, Maryland, USA. NSO and ICF.
Notes:See UNICEF website for further survey information. Available at : https://data.unicef.org/resources/dataset/infant-young-child-feeding/ (last accessed 28.9.21) Citation: United Nations Children’s Fund, Division of Data, Analysis, Planning and Monitoring (2021). Global UNICEF Global Databases: Infant and Young Child Feeding: Exclusive breastfeeding, New York, September 2021.
Definitions:% exclusively breastfed 0-5 months

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, 2019

Age:20-79
References:Reproduced with kind permission International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 9th edn. Brussels,Belgium: 2019. Available at: https://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative 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 (%).

Policies, Interventions and Actions

National Multi-Sector Nutrition Policy 2018–2022

The National Multi-Sector Nutrition Policy 2018–2022 has been developed following the review of the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan 2007–2012. The National Multi-Sector Nutrition Policy 2018–2022 serves to redirect the national focus on nutrition programming and to realign the national nutrition priorities with the national development agenda. The Policy has identified eight priority areas which include: I) Prevention of undernutrition; ii) Gender equality, equity, protection, participation and empowerment for improved nutrition; iii) Treatment and control of acute malnutrition; iv)Prevention and management of overweight and nutrition-related NCDs; v) Nutrition education, social mobilisation, and positive behaviour change; vi) Nutrition during emergency situations; vii) Creating an enabling environment for nutrition; and viii) Nutrition monitoring, evaluation, research and surveillance.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2018-2022
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Government of Malawi
Linked document:Download linked document

No actions could be found for the above criteria.

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