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

hich was used as a sensitive marker of central obesity and is known to be associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The study asked whether educated women had lower levels of obesity than their uneducated counterparts when they made a move from agricultural to non-agricultural jobs. The study also allowed for the impact of health behaviours including dietary patterns, smoking and alcohol consumption which are all known to affect obesity risk.

"We are only beginning to examine the effect of the wider determinants of obesity, like education and employment, on women in low- and middle-income countries," says Dr Aitsi-Selmi. "Unlike high income countries where obesity tends to concentrate in poor women with low levels of education, obesity varies in its pattern depending on which social determinant we look at. This is important because it means we can target interventions to the right groups and it may give us clues as to the mechanisms behind obesity in emerging economies where the food and economic environment is historically unique."

"More research is required in order to explain our findings but it appears that education may provide cognitive skills that help people make better decisions about their health," concludes Dr Aitsi-Selmi. "Our study suggests that investing in women's education may offer a solution by empowering individuals to look after their health. However, it is not a substitute for good public health systems and the regulation of commercial activity like marketing that puts pressure on individuals to consume unhealthy products and take unnecessary risks with their health."


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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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