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

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

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.



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.


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.


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.


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.

Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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