Socioeconomic status and risk factors for obesity and metabolic disorders in a population-based sample of adults females

Sharon Lee Brennan, Margaret J Henry, Geoffrey C Nicholson, Mark A Kotowicz, Julie Anne Pasco

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OBJECTIVES: The association between lower socioeconomic status (SES), obesity, lifestyle choices and adverse health consequences are well documented, however to date the relationship between these variables and area-based SES (equivalised for advantage and disadvantage) has not been examined simultaneously in one population or with more than tertiary divisions of SES. We set out to examine the risk factors for obesity and metabolic disorders in the same population across quintiles of area-based SES. METHODS: We performed a descriptive cross-sectional study using existing data from a population-based random selection of women aged 20-92 years (n=1110) recruited from the Barwon Statistical Division, South Eastern Australia. RESULTS: All measures of adiposity were inversely associated with SES, and remained significant after adjusting for age. Lifestyle choices associated with adiposity and poorer health, including smoking, larger serving sizes of foods, and reduced physical activity, were significantly associated with individuals from lower SES groups. CONCLUSIONS: Greater measures of adiposity and less healthy lifestyle choices were observed in individuals from lower SES. Significant differences in body composition were identified between quintiles 1 and 5, whereas subjects in the mid quintiles had relatively similar measures. The inverse relationship between SES, obesity and less healthy lifestyle underscores the possibility that these associations may be causal and should be investigated further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165 - 171
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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