Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome



Korean J Obes 2012; 21(1): 18-28

Published online March 30, 2012

Copyright © Korean Society for the Study of Obesity.

The Association of Socioeconomic and Psychosocial Factors with Obesity in a Rural Community

Mi Young Kim, Jin-Kyoung Oh(1), Min Kyung Lim(1)*, E Hwa Yun(1), Yoon Hwa Kang(2)

Department of Human Resources Development, Korea Human Resource Development Institute for Health & Welfare, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center(1), District Health Care Team, Korean Health Industry Development Institute(2)

Background: This study was to investigate obesity prevalence and the association with socioeconomic, psychosocial, and behavioral factors in adults in a rural area.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 1,106 (414 men and 692 women) participants aged over 30 years was conducted in Kyungsangnam-do Sancheong-gun and Changwon-si. Face-to-face interview using a structured questionnaire was applied to acquire information on factors associated with obesity. Anthropometric and metabolic risk factors were assessed by clinical and blood examinations.
Results: Prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 25) was 29.4% (26.8% in men and 30.9% in women). Among men, after adjustment of other covariates, prevalence of obesity was higher in subjects with less education (odds ratio, OR = 2.5, 95% confidence interval, CI = 1.0-6.0), among heavy drinkers
(OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.1-3.3), and those with either hypertension (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.2-2.8) or diabetes (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.0-4.2). Obesity prevalence was lower among current smokers (OR = 0.5, 95% CI = 0.3-0.8) and subjects with lower income (OR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.2-0.9). In women, it was lower among manual laborers than in housewives, and higher in subjects with either hypertension (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.4-2.7), diabetes (2.6, 95% CI = 1.4-4.8) or hypercholesterolemia (OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.1-2.6). There was no significant relationship between psychosocial factors and prevalence of obesity.
Conclusions: The present study suggested that socioeconomic factors and health behavior might influence the development of obesity. However, the relationship between psychosocial factors and prevalence of obesity was not identified except for the fact that higher social support might be related to less obesity. Further studies with longitudinal design should be followed to understand the causal mechanism of obesity and these factors.

Keywords: Obesity, Socioeconomic factors, Social support, stress, Health behavior, Rural

General characteristics of study subjects

Social support and stress of study subjects

Body Mass Index (BMI) distribution by socioeconomic and psychosocial factors, health behavior, and co-morbidity

Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for obesity by socioeconomic and psychosocial characteristics, health behavior, and co-morbidity

Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for obesity by socioeconomic and psychosocial characteristics, health behavior, and co-morbidity among subjects aged 60 years or older

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