Gender-Specific Disparities in Obesity

Department of Health Policy and Management, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205-7199, USA.
Journal of Community Health (Impact Factor: 1.28). 03/2006; 31(1):57-68. DOI: 10.1007/s10900-005-8189-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Little prior research has investigated whether the correlates of obesity differ between men and women. The objective of this study was to examine gender-specific disparities in obesity by rurality of residence, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Particular emphasis was devoted to examining potential differences between residents of urban, suburban, and rural areas. Data from the adult version of the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the state of Texas were used to model the crude and adjusted odds of being obese as compared to normal weight. The findings showed that males of other race/ethnicity had lower adjusted odds of obesity than non-Hispanic whites, but other race/ethnicity was insignificant for females. Females who were Hispanic or black/African American had higher adjusted odds of obesity than non-Hispanic whites, but Hispanic ethnicity and black/African American race were insignificant for males. Men and women residing in non-metropolitan areas had higher adjusted odds of obesity than their counterparts in metropolitan areas. No economic disparities were revealed among men, but females with high household income had lower odds of obesity than those with low income. Educational status was insignificant for men and women. The findings suggest that programs and policies aimed at curbing obesity should target males and females residing in non-metropolitan localities. Other initiatives should focus on particular groups of women, including those who are Hispanic or black/African American and have low household income.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The effects of migration on human health have been a topic of interest for demographers and human biologists. Even if migrants to a new region achieve a higher standard of living in their new place of residence, their improved living conditions may not be associated with better health. Part of the difficulty of understanding the health consequences of migration is the complications in trying to control for variables that may affect health, such as gender, age, and urban or rural environment of migrants and nonmigrants. In this paper we report results of a meta-analysis of the body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure (BP) of people of South Asian descent, by comparing nonmigrants who inhabit the subcontinent, with migrants who moved to various places around the globe. Our results indicate that BMI almost always increases to a significant level upon migration and that an increase in BMI is most pronounced in female migrants. Our results also show that BP does not always increase in migrant communities and that it is actually lower in some migrant samples than it is in comparable nonmigrant groups. Therefore, our results show that BP and the BMI do not behave in the same manner following a migration event. We propose that the BMI changes experienced by migrants are likely to reflect different activity levels and diet in the new homeland. However, the BP changes experienced by migrants are likely to reflect stress broadly defined. Such stress may be increased or decreased, depending on the specific migration experience. We propose that the BMI and BP measure two different dimensions of the migration experience.
    Human Biology 02/2011; 83(1):71-86. DOI:10.3378/027.083.0105 · 1.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic heart and respiratory diseases are two of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality affecting women. Patterns of and disparities in chronic diseases between sub-populations of women suggest that there are social as well as individual level factors which enhance or impede the prevention or development of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. By examining the sex, gender and diversity based dimensions of women's lung and heart health and how these overlap with environmental factors we extend analysis of preventive health beyond the individual level. We demonstrate how biological, environmental and social factors interact and operate in women's lives, structuring their opportunities for health and abilities to prevent or manage chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. This commentary is based on the findings from two evidence reviews, one conducted on women's heart health, and another on women's lung health. Additional literature was also reviewed which assessed the relationship between environmental factors and chronic heart and lung diseases. This paper explores how obesogenic environments, exposure to tobacco smoke, and the experience of living in deprived areas can affect women's heart and respiratory health. We discuss the barriers which impede women's ability to engage in physical activity, consume healthy foods, or avoid smoking, tobacco smoke, and other airborne contaminants. Sex, gender and diversity clearly interact with environmental factors and shape women's promotion of health and prevention of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The environments women live in structure their opportunities for health, and women navigate these environments in unique ways based on gender, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and other social factors. Future research, policy and programs relating to the prevention of chronic disease need to move beyond linear individually-oriented models and address these complexities by developing frameworks and interventions which improve environmental conditions for all groups of women. Indeed, in order to improve women's health, broad social and economic policies and initiatives are required to eliminate negative environmental impacts on women's opportunities for health.
    Environmental Health Insights 01/2009; 2:127-35.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper reports findings of a cross-sectional study of the growth and nutrition of children living in rural Ontario, Canada. The objectives of the research were threefold: (1) to obtain data on obesity prevalence and nutrient intake in a sample of rural Canadian schoolchildren, (2) to compare findings with rural and national-level data on obesity prevalence and nutrient intake, and (3) to provide data to school board and public health agencies planning and implementing nutrition policy and programs to this population. Measures of height and weight were obtained for 504 children ages 7-13 years. Height for age and body mass index scores were calculated and compared with 2000 data from the Centers for Disease Control (Kuczmarski et al. [2002]: Vital Health Stat 246:1-190). Weekday 24-h dietary recall was conducted on a subsample of 352 children and the results compared with Canada's Food Guide (Health Canada,1997) and dietary reference data from the US Institute of Medicine (2000). Prevalence of overweight and obesity were high in this sample, with 17.7% of children classified as overweight and 10.9% of children classified as obese. Fifteen percent of boys were classified as obese, compared to 6.8% of girls. Boys consumed significantly more servings from the grain and meat food groups than girls. While mean daily intake of fiber and micronutrients was significantly low for both boys and girls, there were significant gender differences in nutrient intake, with boys consuming greater energy, protein, carbohydrate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and sodium than girls. A number of limitations are discussed, in particular issues arising from the use of Dietary Reference Intakes.
    American Journal of Human Biology 11/2007; 19(6):774-88. DOI:10.1002/ajhb.20637 · 1.93 Impact Factor