Socioeconomic status, sex, and obesity in a large national cohort of 15-87-year-old Open University students in Thailand

Seubsman, Sam-ang, Lim, Lynette L-Y., Banwell, Cathy, Sripaiboonkit, Nintita, Kelly, Matthew, Bain, Christopher and Sleigh, Adrian C. (2010) Socioeconomic status, sex, and obesity in a large national cohort of 15-87-year-old Open University students in Thailand. Journal of Epidemiology, 20 1: 13-20. doi:10.2188/jea.JE20090014


Author Seubsman, Sam-ang
Lim, Lynette L-Y.
Banwell, Cathy
Sripaiboonkit, Nintita
Kelly, Matthew
Bain, Christopher
Sleigh, Adrian C.
Title Socioeconomic status, sex, and obesity in a large national cohort of 15-87-year-old Open University students in Thailand
Journal name Journal of Epidemiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1349-9092
0917-5040
Publication date 2010-01-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2188/jea.JE20090014
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 20
Issue 1
Start page 13
End page 20
Total pages 8
Place of publication Fukuoka, Japan
Publisher Japan Epidemiological Association
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 0104 Statistics
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Formatted abstract
Background: As obesity increases, middle-income countries are undergoing a health-risk transition. We examine the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and emerging obesity in Thailand, and ascertain if an inverse relationship between SES and obesity has appeared.

Methods: The data derived from 87 134 individuals (54% female; median age, 29 years) in a national cohort of distance-learning Open University students aged 15–87 years and living throughout Thailand. We calculated adjusted odds ratios for associations of SES with obesity (body mass index, ≥25) across 3 age groups by sex, after controlling for marital status, age, and urbanization.

Results:
Obesity increased with age and was more prevalent among males than females (22.7% vs 9.9%); more females were underweight (21.8% vs 6.2%). Annual income was 2000 to 3000 US dollars for most participants. High SES, defined by education, income, household assets, and housing type, associated strongly with obesity—positively for males and inversely for females—especially for participants younger than 40 years. The OR for obesity associated with income was as high as 1.54 for males and as low as 0.68 for females (P for trend <0.001).

Conclusions:
Our national Thai cohort has passed a tipping point and assumed a pattern seen in developed countries, ie, an inverse association between SES and obesity in females. We expect the overall population of Thailand to follow this pattern, as education spreads and incomes rise. A public health problem of underweight females could emerge. Recognition of these patterns is important for programs combating obesity. Many middle income countries are undergoing similar transitions.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keyword Body mass index
Weight
Obesity
Socioeconomic status
Thailand
Q-Index Code CX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
ERA White List Items
School of Public Health Publications
 
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Created: Sun, 24 Jan 2010, 00:02:47 EST