Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Medicine (MMed)

First Supervisor/Advisor


Second Supervisor/Advisor



Family Medicine (East Africa)



Prevalence of being overweight or obese is increasing rapidly and as a consequence developing countries are experiencing a double burden of malnutrition along with its complications. Unhealthy lifestyle habits contribute to the energy imbalance that causes being overweight, namely physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices. Interventions targeted at identified lifestyle habits associated with obesity in a local setting may help reduce this burden especially in adolescents, who are a vulnerable to adapting poor lifestyle habits. There is paucity of data on the lifestyle habits that Tanzanian adolescents currently lead which might predispose them to obesity. Hence, we set out to determine the association between being overweight and lifestyle habits of adolescents aged 15-18 years in secondary schools of Ilala district Dar es Salaam.


We conducted a cross-sectional study. Multistage cluster sampling resulted in 5 secondary schools participating in the study where 788 adolescents were randomly recruited. A questionnaire was used to collect data on lifestyle habits and anthropometric measurements done to determine overweight status. Results: Prevalence of overweight, obesity and overall overweight/obesity was 17.5%,6.7% and 24.2% respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed that adequate physical activity OR 0.48 CI 95% 0.34-0.68 and adequate dairy OR 0.32 CI 95% 0.12- 0.75 were protective against overweight/obesity while mobile/TV screen-time during the week increased overweight/obese risk OR 1.47 CI 95% 1-2.2.


The present study identified physical activity and adequate dairy intake associated with being protective against overweight/obesity among adolescents in Ilala district Dar es Salaam. Primary prevention targeted at an active lifestyle and healthy diet should be a public health priority.