It is often assumed that those on low incomes and with low levels of education are overly represented in the major increase in obesity of recent decades.
A new thesis from the Lund University School of Economics and Management, Sweden, shows that obesity is increasing across all social groups and that we need to look at factors other than socioeconomic status to understand and solve one of the major public health concerns of the Western world.
sa Ljungvall, a researcher in economics at the Lund University School of Economics and Management, has studied the increase in numbers of people who are overweight or obese over recent decades in Sweden and the US.
"My studies show that the increase in the problem of obesity is taking place across a broad front in all socioeconomic groups. So even if there are differences between different levels of education and income, people are affected fairly evenly by the increase sometimes even in ways that reduce inequality between the groups.
The obesity epidemic is taking place independently of socioeconomic status and affects people more equally than we have previously thought", says sa Ljungvall.
Even if the average waist measurement of a Swede is less than that of an average American, sa Ljungvall's comparative studies indicate similarities.
"We are seeing the same tendency in Sweden as in the US, where the increases in obesity, severe obesity and BMI since 1960 are very similar for groups with different levels of education and income."
"As we are seeing major increases in all socioeconomic groups, it is perhaps not related to the fact that we don't know any better or cannot afford to do otherwise. There is something else that affects our behaviour more."
So why have we become larger and what can be done about the problem? In sa Ljungvall's view, we need to look at something other than socioeconomic factors like education and income to understand and s
|Contact: sa Ljungvall|