Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obesity epidemic threatens health of all social groups equally, Swedish study finds

Date:
November 12, 2012
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
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. New research from 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.

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.

Åsa 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 Åsa Ljungvall.

Even if the average waist measurement of a Swede is less than that of an average American, Åsa 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 Åsa Ljungvall's view, we need to look at something other than socioeconomic factors like education and income to understand and solve one of the major public health problems of the Western world. It is important to keep the distribution of the problem in mind when discussing causes and possible solutions.

At the same time as the major rise in obesity, we have experienced rapid economic and technological development, which is likely to have influenced what choices we make with regard to diet and physical activity. These changes seem to have entailed difficulties in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight.

"How are we affected by factors such as quality and quantity of available food and drink, stress and uncertainty, opportunities for daily exercise, marketing and information?" asks Åsa Ljungvall rhetorically. "Factors such as these affect how difficult it is for people to make the 'right' choices and create good habits and norms."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Obesity epidemic threatens health of all social groups equally, Swedish study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112090424.htm>.
Lund University. (2012, November 12). Obesity epidemic threatens health of all social groups equally, Swedish study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112090424.htm
Lund University. "Obesity epidemic threatens health of all social groups equally, Swedish study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112090424.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins