Area-based socioeconomic environment, obesity risk behaviours, area facilities and childhood overweight and obesity: socioeconomic environment and childhood overweight

Prev Med. 2012 Aug;55(2):102-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.05.012. Epub 2012 May 23.


Objective: The objective of this study is to evaluate whether the relation between area-based socioeconomic environment and childhood obesity can be explained by household socioeconomic position, obesity-related risk behaviours and area facilities.

Methods: Two indicators of socioeconomic environment based on wealth and deprivation were estimated in a sample of 4529 Spanish children and adolescents in 2006. Multilevel logit models were used to calculate the relation between each indicator and obesity.

Results: After adjusting for socioeconomic position and risk behaviours, no relation was observed between wealth and overweight; however, obesity prevalence was 1.45 times higher in subjects living in areas with lower wealth than in those living in areas with higher wealth. After adjusting for these variables, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in subjects living in deprived areas was, respectively, 1.26 and 1.63 higher than in those living in non-deprived areas. There was a graded association between number of sports facilities and prevalence of physical inactivity, but no relation was found between the price of fruits and vegetables and frequency of consumption.

Conclusion: The relation of socioeconomic environment with childhood obesity could not be explained by household socioeconomic position or obesity-related risk behaviours. Availability of sport facilities may mediate this relation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment Design
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / physiology
  • Food Preferences / psychology
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / economics
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Overweight / economics
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Poverty Areas
  • Psychosocial Deprivation*
  • Public Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Recreation / psychology
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk-Taking
  • Self Report
  • Social Class*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Weight Loss / physiology