Volume 17 (2007) Issue 5 Pages 161-168
BACKGROUND: Studies from industrialized Western countries have reported an inverse association between socioeconomic status and overweight/obesity. In contrast, few studies from newly industrialized countries in Asia have examined this association. In this context, we examined the association between socioeconomic status and overweight/obesity by gender in Chinese adults in Singapore.
METHODS: A population-based cross sectional study of 942 participants (57.3% women, 40-81 years) residing in the Tanjong Pagar district of Singapore was conducted. Education, income, and housing type were used as socioeconomic status indicators. Main outcome-of-interest was the presence of overweight/obesity (n=313), classified by body mass index as overweight (25- 29.9 kg/m2), or obese (≥30 kg/m2)
RESULTS: The prevalence of overweight/obesity was 33% in men and 34% in women. In men, SES indicators were not associated with overweight/obesity. In women, SES indicators were found to be inversely associated with overweight/ obesity. Compared to women with secondary/higher education, the odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) of overweight/obesity in women with primary/lower education was 2.5 (1.5-4.0). Compared to women earning > Singapore dollar (SGD) 1,000 per month, the OR (95% CI) of overweight/obesity among women earning ≤SGD 1,000 was 2.5 (1.4-4.5). Compared to women living in large size public apartments or private houses, the OR (95% CI) of overweight/obesity in women living in small/medium size public apartments was 1.8 (1.2-2.7).
CONCLUSIONS: Lower socioeconomic status, defined by education, income, and housing type was associated with overweight/obesity in Chinese Singaporean women.
J Epidemiol 2007; 17: 161-168.