Reported consumption of takeaway food and its contribution to socioeconomic inequalities in body mass index

Appetite. 2014 Mar:74:116-24. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.12.007. Epub 2013 Dec 17.


The aim of this study was to examine whether takeaway food consumption mediated (explained) the association between socioeconomic position and body mass index (BMI). A postal-survey was conducted among 1500 randomly selected adults aged between 25 and 64years in Brisbane, Australia during 2009 (response rate 63.7%, N=903). BMI was calculated using self-reported weight and height. Participants reported usual takeaway food consumption, and these takeaway items were categorised into "healthy" and "less healthy" choices. Socioeconomic position was ascertained by education, household income, and occupation. The mean BMI was 27.1kg/m(2) for men and 25.7kg/m(2) for women. Among men, none of the socioeconomic measures were associated with BMI. In contrast, women with diploma/vocational education (β=2.12) and high school only (β=2.60), and those who were white-collar (β=1.55) and blue-collar employees (β=2.83) had significantly greater BMI compared with their more advantaged counterparts. However, household income was not associated with BMI. Among women, the consumption of "less healthy" takeaway food mediated BMI differences between the least and most educated, and between those employed in blue collar occupations and their higher status counterparts. Decreasing the consumption of "less healthy" takeaway options may reduce socioeconomic inequalities in overweight and obesity among women but not men.

Keywords: Dietary behaviours; Fast-food; Mediation analysis; Obesity; Public health; Socio-economic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fast Foods*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Food, Organic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Overweight / metabolism
  • Socioeconomic Factors*