oa South African Family Practice - Anthropometric profile of HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected women aged 25-44 years in Mangaung, Free State : original research

Volume 53, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Obesity and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) affect significant numbers of black women in South Africa.

Using township maps, a random sample of 500 black women residing in Mangaung in the Free State was selected to participate in this study in the year 2000. The women were divided into two age groups, namely 25-34 years (n = 273) and 35-44 years (n = 215). Anthropometric measurements, including height, weight [to calculate the body mass index (BMI)] and waist circumference (WC) were taken. Fat percentage was measured with bioelectrical impedance. HIV status was determined using a microparticle enzyme immunoassay method. Socio-demographic status, health status, dietary intake, level of physical activity, body perception and attitude toward weight control, as well as prevalence and risk of lifestyle diseases were determined as part of the larger study.
Sixty-one per cent of younger women (25-34 years) and 38% of older women (35-44 years) were infected with HIV. In younger HIV-infected women, median BMI, WC and fat percentage were significantly lower than in HIV-uninfected women.
HIV infection rates were found to be higher among younger than older women. The prevalence of obesity was high overall. Median BMI values ranged between 24.4 kg/m2 and 27.6 kg/m2. A large percentage of all women fell in the unhealthy fat percentage category (excessive body fat), ranging between 65.9% of HIV-infected young women and 79.3% of older HIV-infected women. HIV, even in the asymptomatic stage, influences anthropometric indicators.

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