Research links educational status to obesity

(Medical Xpress) -- A study published online today by Melbourne researchers predicts almost half of Australian adults with low educational status will be obese by 2025. 

The projections show the prevalence of among Australian adults with secondary level education only is likely to nearly double in 2025 (from 23% in 2000 to 44% in 2025, compared to an estimated 30% in 2025 for those with a degree qualification or higher), with these disparities evident across all age groups. 

The study, which was led by Baker IDI researcher Dr. Kathryn Backholer and published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public , has major implications for governments, health authorities and educators with regards to the development of health prevention strategies and policy.  

The study suggests that unless obesity prevention and management strategies narrow social inequalities in obesity, such inequality will also impact health outcomes, particularly when it comes to rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

The predictions mirror those of other international studies, with similar socio-economic inequalities in weight gain observed in studies from the United States and Finland, as well as Australia. 

Head of Obesity and Population Health at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, and co-author of the study, Associate Professor Anna Peeters said there were a number of potential reasons for the predicted growth in the relationship between low educational attainment and obesity prevalence, including differing environmental, social and cultural influences throughout life on lifestyle and physiology. Disparities in exposure to, and uptake of, health promotion and other public health interventions were also likely to play a part.

A/Prof Peeters said the challenge for government, health authorities and communities would be to implement interventions that not only curbed current body weight trends but also narrowed differences in obesity prevalence between socioeconomic groups.  

Given the alarming obesity trends in Australia (with 34% of Australian adults expected to be obese in 2025) and our inability to reverse these trends to date, A/Prof Peeters said these latest predictions were a further reason to increase our efforts to make healthy lifestyles accessible, affordable and enjoyable.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Social norms for obesity learned in childhood

Dec 19, 2011

Newcastle University research studying siblings has revealed that childhood experience and genes may set your weight rather than social networks later in life. 

Exercise plays key role in managing obesity: study

Feb 21, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- In spite of recent media reports suggesting that exercise may not be useful in obesity management, overweight and obese people should not be discouraged from taking it up, according to ...

Recommended for you

The larger your friends the larger your appetite

1 hour ago

Have you ever ordered more food at a restaurant than you intended? There are elements of dining rooms that actually prime you to eat more food. One such element is the weight of those dining with or near ...

Gut bacteria promote obesity in mice

Sep 30, 2014

A species of gut bacteria called Clostridium ramosum, coupled with a high-fat diet, may cause animals to gain weight. The work is published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiol ...

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Sep 29, 2014

Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples – specifically, Granny Smith apples – may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought ...

Boosting purchasing power to lower obesity rates

Sep 25, 2014

In January, as one of the first major initiatives of the Academic Vision, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity will move to UConn from Yale University. The move will allow Rudd faculty to expand their work and build ...

Note to young men: Fat doesn't pay

Sep 23, 2014

Men who are already obese as teenagers could grow up to earn up to 18 percent less than their peers of normal weight. So says Petter Lundborg of Lund University, Paul Nystedt of Jönköping University and ...

User comments