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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Feb;23(2):138-45.

Psychosocial and socio-economic factors in women and their relationship to obesity and regional body fat distribution.

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Department of Heart and Lung Diseases, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.



Abdominal obesity, as well as psychosocial and socio-economic handicaps are risk factors for serious, prevalent diseases. Connections between these variables have been found in men.


The principal aim of the present study was to analyse the associations between psychosocial and socioeconomic factors with body mass index (BMI) and the waist-to-hip circumference ratio (WHR) in women.


A cohort study of data derived from questionnaires.


1137 women from a population sample of 1464 women born in 1956.


Occupational, social and leisure time conditions, smoking and alcohol habits, as well as height, weight and waist and hip circumferences.


BMI was associated with teetotalism and negatively to wine drinking. WHR correlated directly with cigarette smoking and negatively with consumption of wine and beer. Both BMI and WHR, adjusted for each other and for smoking and alcohol, showed independent associations with low education, unemployment and problems at work when employed, as well as with little physical activity and much TV-watching. In addition, the WHR showed a negative, independent relationship to housing conditions.


These observations suggest psychosocial and socio-economic handicaps as well as a low physical activity in abdominally obese women. Similar observations have been made previously in men, but only with the WHR, suggesting an influence of obesity in these relationships in women only. Another interesting gender difference is the positive relationship between being married with BMI in men, as well as being divorced and living alone with the WHR in men only.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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