Sex differences in the association of socioeconomic status with obesity

Am J Public Health. 2002 Aug;92(8):1299-304. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.8.1299.


Objectives: This study investigated socioeconomic predictors of obesity in men and women.

Methods: Data from the 1996 Health Survey for England were used to compare odds ratios for obesity by education, occupation, and 2 economic markers after control for age, marital status, and ethnicity.

Results: Obesity risk was greater among men and women with fewer years of education and poorer economic circumstances and among women, but not men, of lower occupational status.

Conclusions: Higher educational attainment and higher socioeconomic status were associated with a lower risk of obesity in both men and women, whereas higher occupational status was associated with a lower risk only for women. The implications of these findings for understanding causes and prevention of obesity are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Educational Status*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / economics
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Occupations / classification*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors