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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Apr;69(4):719-26.

Socioeconomic differences in weight gain and determinants and consequences of coronary risk factors.

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1
International Centre for Health and Society, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, United Kingdom. pekka@public-health.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is a major public health concern in many developed countries.

OBJECTIVE:

We aimed to describe socioeconomic differences in change in body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) from age 25 y, assess possible factors behind these differences, and study whether socioeconomic differences in a variety of coronary risk factors can be accounted for by change in BMI.

DESIGN:

The data come from a cohort study of London-based civil servants (Whitehall II), who participated in the first (1985-1988) and third (1991-1993) phases of the study and were 35-55-y old at phase 1: altogether there were 5507 men and 2466 women. Both study phases included a questionnaire and a screening examination.

RESULTS:

In men and women, employment grade--the measure of socioeconomic status used in this cohort--was strongly related to BMI gain from age 25 y to phase 3 (25 y apart on average). The lower the grade the larger the gain in BMI. Adjustment for health behaviors reduced the grade differences in BMI gain by approximately 20%. A substantial part of the grade differences in diastolic and systolic blood pressure and plasma triacylglycerol concentrations could be accounted for by BMI change from age 25 y.

CONCLUSIONS:

Grade differences in BMI change are evident, but many of the determinants of these differences remain unknown. If lower-status persons continue to gain weight more rapidly than higher-status persons, overweight is likely to be of growing importance as a pathway to social inequalities in ill health.

PMID:
10197574
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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