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J Community Health. 2006 Feb;31(1):57-68.

Gender-specific disparities in obesity.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205-7199, USA.


Little prior research has investigated whether the correlates of obesity differ between men and women. The objective of this study was to examine gender-specific disparities in obesity by rurality of residence, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Particular emphasis was devoted to examining potential differences between residents of urban, suburban, and rural areas. Data from the adult version of the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the state of Texas were used to model the crude and adjusted odds of being obese as compared to normal weight. The findings showed that males of other race/ethnicity had lower adjusted odds of obesity than non-Hispanic whites, but other race/ethnicity was insignificant for females. Females who were Hispanic or black/African American had higher adjusted odds of obesity than non-Hispanic whites, but Hispanic ethnicity and black/African American race were insignificant for males. Men and women residing in non-metropolitan areas had higher adjusted odds of obesity than their counterparts in metropolitan areas. No economic disparities were revealed among men, but females with high household income had lower odds of obesity than those with low income. Educational status was insignificant for men and women. The findings suggest that programs and policies aimed at curbing obesity should target males and females residing in non-metropolitan localities. Other initiatives should focus on particular groups of women, including those who are Hispanic or black/African American and have low household income.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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