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Econ Hum Biol. 2017 Aug;26:144-150. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2017.03.005. Epub 2017 Mar 31.

Obesity and its socioeconomic determinants in Iran.

Author information

Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Iran. Electronic address:
Center for Health Related Social and Behavioral Sciences Research, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Iran.
Department of Informatics, Evidence and Research, World Health Organization, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland.
Social Determinants of Health Research Center; Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences, Gonabad, Iran.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



To investigate the socioeconomic inequality of obesity and its determinants in Iran.


Data was from Iran's surveillance system for risk factors of non-communicable diseases which was conducted on 89,400 individuals aged 15-64 years in 2005. Principal component analysis was used to create a new variable for defining socioeconomic status of participants. We assessed inequality by calculating a slop index of inequality and concentration index for obesity. Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition analysis was used to determine the determinants of inequality.


The slop index of inequality and concentration index for obesity was -13.1 (95% Confidence Intervals [CI]: -16.3 to -9.8) percentage points and -0.123, respectively. The level of inequality varied widely between different provinces in Iran and was more severe in women and urban population. Obesity persisted in 20.2% (95% CI: 19.4-20.9) of the low-socioeconomic group and 11.0% (95% CI: 10.5-11.6) of the high-socioeconomic group. More than 90% of this gap was due to differences of independent variables (mainly age, gender and marital status) in two socioeconomic status groups.


A pro-rich inequality existed in the obesity in Iran. Older age, female gender and rural residency contributed most to the economic inequality of obesity.


Health status disparities; Health surveys; Inequality; Iran; Socioeconomic factors

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