Quantification of Urbanization Using Night-Time Light Intensity in Relation to Women’s Overnutrition in Bangladesh

Jahidur Rahman Khan*, Md Mazharul Islam, Abu Saleh Mosa Faisal, Humayera Islam, K. Shuvo Bakar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urbanization is accelerating in developing countries, which are simultaneously experiencing a rise in the prevalence of overnutrition (i.e., overweight and obesity), specifically among women. Since urbanization is a dynamic process, a continuous measure may better represent it when examining its association with overnutrition. However, most previous research has used a rural–urban dichotomy-based urbanization measure. This study utilized satellite-based night-time light intensity (NTLI) data to measure urbanization and evaluate its association with body weight in reproductive-aged (15–49) women in Bangladesh. Multilevel models estimated the association between residential area NTLI and women’s body mass index (BMI) or overnutrition status using data from the latest Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS 2017–18). Higher area-level NTLI was associated with a higher BMI and increased odds of being overweight and obese in women. Living in areas with moderate NTL intensities was not linked with women’s BMI measures, whereas living in areas with high NTL intensities was associated with a higher BMI or higher odds of being overweight and obese. The predictive nature of NTLI suggests that it could be used to study the relationship between urbanization and overnutrition prevalence in Bangladesh, though more longitudinal research is needed. This research emphasizes the necessity for preventive efforts to offset the expected public health implications of urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Night light intensity
  • Obesity
  • Urbanization
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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