Association between Socioeconomic Status and Obesity in Children
The perception of obesity among people has not changed significantly regardless numerous public educational programmes. Reasons for obesity pandemics are numerous and complex, but can be mostly resumed to life-style changes. The aim of this research was to determine connection between socioeconomic factors and obesity with children of our region. Study included pupils aged 7-8 from 19 first grades in 8 primary schools in Osijek-Baranya County. Body height and weight were measured and socioeconomic data status were collected. Socioeconomic status included data on marital status, educational level, employment, number of children in the family, kindergarten attendance and urban/rural location and also smoking habits of parents. BMI was calculated as a parameter for obesity assessment according to Croatian reference values. Total of 372 children were measured. There were 6.5% of overweight children (BMI between 90th and 97th percentile) and 2.4% of obese children (BMI above 97th percentile). The prevalence of obese children in our research was 8.9%. Obesity is not influenced by rural/urban residence, marital status of parents, number of children in the family, mother’s education, or by parents’ smoking habits. Positive correlation between obesity and father’s education and parents’ unemployment was found.
Available literature data, same as our study, did not show consistent association between socioeconomic factors and obesity with children. Contradictory results of different studies can be a result of a small sample, difference in study design and different criteria for defining categories within investigated socioeconomic factor.