Published Papers - Abstract 146

Ball K, Mishra GD & Dobson AJ. Socioeconomic predictors of the development of health conditions related to obesity. Preventive Medicine, ; :

BACKGROUND: Data from a longitudinal population-based study were used to investigate the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on the development of obesity-related conditions and symptoms among middle-aged women, using gender-specific indices reflecting different SES dimensions. METHODS: Sociodemographic, medical and weight-related data were obtained at two time points, two years apart, from 11, 637 women aged 45-50 years at baseline. RESULTS: Cross-sectional analyses showed strong inverse relationships between three SES domains (employment, family unit, and education) and symptoms and conditions. Controlling for initial body weight and weight change, longitudinal analyses showed that women of lower SES were at higher risk of developing heart disease, back pain, severe tiredness and stiff/painful joints. These women were also less likely to report their experiences of stiff/painful joints or back pain had ceased over time. Associations with health outcomes differed depending on SES domain, suggesting that the use of several indices measuring different SES dimensions is more informative than relying on a single aggregated indicator.CONCLUSIONS: In addition to providing insight into potential mechanisms underlying SES gradients in these health outcomes, the findings have critical public health implications. Should these trends continue, SES inequalities in health outcomes related to obesity will continue to increase.

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