Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Epidemiol. 2009 May 1;169(9):1102-12. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp027. Epub 2009 Mar 18.

Do socioeconomic gradients in body mass index vary by race/ethnicity, gender, and birthplace?

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Education, College of Health and Human Services, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA.


Despite the well-documented negative socioeconomic status (SES) gradient in body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)(2)) among women in developed societies, the presence and strength of the gradient is less consistent among men. Far less clear is the SES patterning of BMI among racial/ethnic minorities and immigrants. Using data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey, a cross-sectional representative sample of California adults, the authors examined whether the SES patterning of BMI varied across 4 major US racial/ethnic groups (n = 37,150) by gender and birthplace. The shape and strength of the relation between SES and BMI differed markedly by race/ethnicity; and within racial/ethnic groups, it varied by gender. Irrespective of race/ethnicity, there were negative income and education gradients in BMI among women; however, there was considerable variation among men. The effect of education on BMI differed by birthplace in some groups. A clear education gradient in BMI was found among all US-born participants, a quadratic education pattern in BMI was found among foreign-born Asian men, a flat pattern was found among foreign-born Asian women, and no clear pattern was found in the remaining foreign-born groups. There is substantial heterogeneity in the contemporaneous SES gradient in BMI. US social disparities in BMI require simultaneous consideration of race/ethnicity and SES, but also birthplace.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk