Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Education protects women from the obesity associated with urban living

Date:
September 6, 2013
Source:
University College London - UCL
Summary:
Research into the rise in obesity associated with the burgeoning industrial and service sectors in low- and middle-income countries found that education is a key factor in reducing the negative impact on women’s health.

Research into the rise in obesity associated with the burgeoning industrial and service sectors in low- and middle-income countries found that education is a key factor in reducing the negative impact on women's health.

The study, conducted by researchers at UCL and published in the journal BMC Public Health, found that women with no formal education who were working in sedentary occupations were twice as likely to be 'centrally obese' -- defined by measuring waist circumference -- compared to women with no education working in agriculture.

However, for women with at least some degree of formal education, there was no such association. Educated women in sedentary occupations were no more likely to be centrally obese than educated women with agricultural occupations.

The study looked at a sample of 2,465 women aged 60+ years who participated in the Chinese Four Provinces study funded by Alzheimer's Research UK and conducted by Dr Ruoling Chen while based at UCL.

"China, like a number of other emerging economies, is undergoing a rapid economic transition with many people moving from agricultural to manual and service-based jobs in cities," says Dr Amina Aitsi-Selmi, the lead author of the study and a Wellcome Trust fellow at UCL (University College London).

"Millions of women leave their families of origin for the city to improve their living conditions and life prospects," she continues. "In parallel, Chinese markets are opening up to new consumer products and lifestyles which result in changes in diets and patterns of physical activity. As a result, the risk of obesity is increasing quickly in the Chinese population reflecting the impact of the growing obesity epidemic worldwide."

The data used in the study were nationally representative of the Chinese population and recorded detailed demographic, social and health information from all participants. This included the measurement of waist circumference which was used as a sensitive marker of central obesity and is known to be associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The study asked whether educated women had lower levels of obesity than their uneducated counterparts when they made a move from agricultural to non-agricultural jobs. The study also allowed for the impact of health behaviours including dietary patterns, smoking and alcohol consumption which are all known to affect obesity risk.

"We are only beginning to examine the effect of the wider determinants of obesity, like education and employment, on women in low- and middle-income countries," says Dr Aitsi-Selmi. "Unlike high income countries where obesity tends to concentrate in poor women with low levels of education, obesity varies in its pattern depending on which social determinant we look at. This is important because it means we can target interventions to the right groups and it may give us clues as to the mechanisms behind obesity in emerging economies where the food and economic environment is historically unique."

"More research is required in order to explain our findings but it appears that education may provide cognitive skills that help people make better decisions about their health," concludes Dr Aitsi-Selmi. "Our study suggests that investing in women's education may offer a solution by empowering individuals to look after their health. However, it is not a substitute for good public health systems and the regulation of commercial activity like marketing that puts pressure on individuals to consume unhealthy products and take unnecessary risks with their health."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University College London - UCL. "Education protects women from the obesity associated with urban living." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130906101351.htm>.
University College London - UCL. (2013, September 6). Education protects women from the obesity associated with urban living. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130906101351.htm
University College London - UCL. "Education protects women from the obesity associated with urban living." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130906101351.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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