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Coll Antropol. 2006 Jun;30(2):265-71.

Effects of socio-economic and behavioural characteristics in explaining central obesity--a study on adult Asian Indians in Calcutta, India.

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  • 1Palli Charcha Kendra, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India.


The present cross-sectional study on adult Asian Indians in Calcutta, India was undertaken to look into the effects of socio-economic and behavioural characteristics in explaining waist-hip ratio (WHR). A total of 500 apparently healthy individuals (300 men and 200 women) were subjects in the study. A random sampling procedure using local voter's registration list was followed to select the subjects. Only one adult (> or = 30 years) from each household was considered as participant. A total of 24 items, 14 socio-economic and 10 behavioural characters were considered. For socio-economic characters, a number of items namely employment status, types of occupation, education status, nature of housing and marital status were taken into consideration. Smoking status, physical exercise by means of outdoor activity, drinking habits and diets on the other hand were considered as behavioural characters. Information on socio-economic and behavioural characteristics was collected using an open-ended schedule specifically designed in this regard. Anthropometric measures namely height, weight and circumference of waist and hip were obtained from participants using standard techniques. The median WHR for men and women was 0.94 and 0.90 respectively. Analysis of variance revealed significant sex difference for all anthropometric measures. It was observed that more women were leading sedentary (outdoor activity not housework was considered) life than men (85.4% vs. 75.4%). Furthermore, women were predominantly nonsmokers (98.8%) whereas 40.2% men were smokers as against 51.4% ex-smokers (those who have quitted smoking during past two years). Multiple regression analysis (adjusted for age and sex) of WHR by socio-economic and behavioural characters revealed that occupation, housing, marital status, smoking condition, physical exercise, drinking habits and diets pattern cumulatively explains 75% (R2=0.75) of total variation of WHR in the study population.

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