Socioeconomic status and weight control practices among 20- to 45-year-old women

Am J Public Health. 1996 Jul;86(7):1005-10. doi: 10.2105/ajph.86.7.1005.


Objectives: This study examined the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and weight control practices in women.

Methods: SES, defined by family income, was examined in an economically diverse sample of 998 women in relation to dieting practices by means of multivariate regression analyses controlling for age, ethnicity, smoking, and body mass index.

Results: SES was positively associated with healthy, but not unhealthy, weight control practices; inversely related to energy and fat intake; and positively associated with weight concern and perceived social support for healthy eating and exercise. SES gradients were particularly striking at the low end of the income distribution (i.e., family income < or = $10,000 per year). The SES gradient in body mass index persisted in analyses controlling for attitudes and behaviors.

Conclusions: Economic deprivation may contribute to high rates of obesity among lower SES women. The reasons for this require further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / economics*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires