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Perceived underlying causes of obesity among overweight and obese women: An exploratory factor analysis



The underlying causes of obesity and their association with Body Mass Index (BMI) and demographic factors among overweight and obese women were identified.


Cross sectional study, exploratory factor analysis.


A questionnaire including 26 possible causes of obesity was completed by 300 overweight and obese women. An exploratory factor analyses and multiple linear regression analyses were performed.


The most important reported causes of obesity were eating rice (80.9%), dinner (77.7%), bread (77.1%) and being physically inactive (77.2%). A factor analysis revealed four factors, accounted for 36.9% of total variance in the original 26 variables. Provisional names were assigned to these 4 factors namely effect of eating large amount of energy dense snacks and fast foods, consuming a lot in main meal and lack of physical activity, family members, non-hunger related eating. In regression model, after adjusting for other covariables, socioeconomic status had significant correlation with two factors including “effect of non-hunger relating eating” (beta = 0.22, p-value = 0.002) and “effect of family members” (beta = 0.17, p-value = 0.01). Being married had a significant positive association with the factor “effect of family members” (beta = 0.15, p-value = 0.04).


Considering the importance of dietary and physical activity factors as perceived underlying causes of obesity, for developing effective obesity prevention strategies these factors should be taken in to account.