Determinants of body weight changes during Ramadan fasting in India amid COVID-19 A cross-sectional study

Moien A.B. Khan, Sajjad Ahmed Khan, Kalaivani Annadurai, Surya Bahadur Parajuli, Waseem N. Ahmed, Saoud Altamimi, Tejaswini Ashok, Dhaval Shah, Yakub Sayyad, Ashish Dubey, Abdullah Tariq, Romana Riyaz, Fayeza Hasan, Sohrab Amiri, Moezalislam Faris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ramadan intermittent fasting (RIF) presents unique challenges and opportunities for public health and clinical practice, especially in populations with a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases. This study aims to investigate the impact of RIF on weight change among Indian Muslims and explore the associated demographic, dietary, and behavioral factors. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a sample of Indian Muslim adults who observed RIF. Participants were asked to report their demographic information, family and personal health history, and dietary and lifestyle behaviors before and during Ramadan month. The primary outcome was body weight change, with secondary outcomes including changes in dietary patterns, physical activity, and other health-related lifestyle behaviors. The study found that during Ramadan, nearly half of the participants (48.5%) self-reported a retained initial weight, while a significant fraction (30.9%) self-reported a modest weight reduction between 0.5 to 2.5kg at the end of Ramadan. Additionally, self-reported eating practices demonstrated moderately altered by about half (48.4%) of the study participants, with 32.2% reporting minor changes and 8.2% indicating substantial changes. An urban residence was associated with a higher likelihood of weight gain, where urban residents showed 3 times the odds of increased weight compared to rural inhabitants. Employment status emerged as a significant determinant for weight fluctuation, influencing both weight gain and loss. During Ramadan, there was a significant rise in snacking frequency, increasing from 21.7% to 32.6% in comparison with pre-Ramadan. The consumption of large quantities of food more frequently grew from 14.9% to 36%, and the incidence of eating despite not being hungry went up from 17.4% to 33.2%. The study demonstrates that RIF is associated with variable changes in body weight among adult Indian Muslims, influenced by urbanization, employment status, and dietary changes. The findings suggest that clinicians should provide tailored advice about body weight regulation during Ramadan and consider integrating community-based health initiatives within religious settings to improve health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E37040
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 26 2024


  • dietary practices
  • employment
  • intermittent fasting
  • non-communicable diseases
  • public health
  • time-restricted eating
  • urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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