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Education protects women from the obesity associated with urban living
Date:9/6/2013

Research into the rise in obesity associated with the burgeoning industrial and service sectors in low- and middle-income countries found that education is a key factor in reducing the negative impact on women's health.

The study, conducted by researchers at UCL and published in the journal BMC Public Health, found that women with no formal education who were working in sedentary occupations were twice as likely to be 'centrally obese' defined by measuring waist circumference compared to women with no education working in agriculture.

However, for women with at least some degree of formal education, there was no such association. Educated women in sedentary occupations were no more likely to be centrally obese than educated women with agricultural occupations.

The study looked at a sample of 2,465 women aged 60+ years who participated in the Chinese Four Provinces study funded by Alzheimer's Research UK and conducted by Dr Ruoling Chen while based at UCL.

"China, like a number of other emerging economies, is undergoing a rapid economic transition with many people moving from agricultural to manual and service-based jobs in cities," says Dr Amina Aitsi-Selmi, the lead author of the study and a Wellcome Trust fellow at UCL (University College London).

"Millions of women leave their families of origin for the city to improve their living conditions and life prospects," she continues. "In parallel, Chinese markets are opening up to new consumer products and lifestyles which result in changes in diets and patterns of physical activity. As a result, the risk of obesity is increasing quickly in the Chinese population reflecting the impact of the growing obesity epidemic worldwide."

The data used in the study were nationally representative of the Chinese population and recorded detailed demographic, social and health information from all participants. This included the measurement of waist circumference w
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Contact: David Weston
d.weston@ucl.ac.uk
44-020-310-83844
University College London
Source:Eurekalert

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