Household motor vehicle ownership and obesity among Indian females and males: 2005-2016

Debra K. Kellstedt, David J. Washburn, Shinduk Lee, Ibrahim Gwarzo, Petronella Ahenda, Jay E. Maddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: To determine associations between household motor vehicle ownership and obesity among Indian adults. Methods: Bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted using the 2005-2006 and 2015-2016 Indian Demographic and Health surveys, with over 800 000 respondents. Results: Obesity prevalence (body mass index ≥25 kg/m2) rose in females (16.87% to 20.35%) and in males (12.55% to 18.74%). In 2005, having both types of vehicles (motorcycle/motor scooter and car) significantly increased the odds of obesity in females (OR, 1.63; 95% CI 1.50 to 1.76) and males (OR, 2.49; 95% CI 2.24 to 2.77) as well as in 2015 (OR, 1.10; 95% CI 1.07 to 1.13 and OR, 1.56; 95% CI 1.45 to 1.68, respectively). The wealthiest were more likely to be obese in 2005 (OR, 14.95; 95% CI 16.06 to 17.12 for females; OR, 12.69; 95% CI 10.17 to 15.70 for males) and in 2015 (OR, 7.69; 95% CI 7.43 to 7.95 for females and OR, 6.40; 95% CI 5.40 to 7.01 for males). Higher education levels, being younger and rural residence were significant protective factors in 2005 and 2015. Conclusions: After adjusting for confounders, motor vehicle ownership was significantly associated with obesity at both time points, but the effect of vehicle ownership presents differently by gender. With obesity prevalence increasing in India, policies promoting active vs motorized transport could attenuate this problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
JournalInternational health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • epidemiology
  • motor vehicles
  • obesity
  • public health
  • India/epidemiology
  • Ownership
  • Prevalence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Obesity/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Adult
  • Female

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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