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Epidemiol Health > Volume 41; 2019 > Article
Epidemiology and Health 2019;41: e2019005-0.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2019005    Published online February 13, 2019.
Socioeconomic inequalities in obesity among Korean women aged 19-79 years: the 2016 Korean Study of Women’s Health-Related Issues
Eunji Choi1  , Ha Na Cho1  , Da Hea Seo2  , Boyoung Park3  , Sohee Park4  , Juhee Cho5  , Sue Kim6  , Yeong-Ran Park7  , Kui Son Choi1  , Yumie Rhee8 
1Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
2Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
3Department of Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
4Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
5Department of Clinical Research and Evaluation, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea
6College of Nursing, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
7Division of Silver Industry, Kangnam University, Yongin, Korea
8Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrine Research Institute, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence  Kui Son Choi ,Email: kschoi@ncc.re.kr
Received: August 10, 2018  Accepted after revision: February 13, 2019
While the prevalence of obesity in Asian women has remained stagnant, studies of socioeconomic inequalities in obesity among Asian women are scarce. This study aimed to examine the recent prevalence of obesity in Korean women aged between 19 years and 79 years and to analyze socioeconomic inequalities in obesity.
Data were derived from the 2016 Korean Study of Women’s Health-Related Issues. The chi-square test and logistic regression analysis were used to analyze the associations between socioeconomic factors and obesity using Asian standard body mass index (BMI) categories: low (<18.5 kg/m2 ), normal (18.5-22.9 kg/m2 ), overweight (23.0-24.9 kg/m2 ), and obese (≥25.0 kg/ m2 ). As inequality-specific indicators, the slope index of inequality (SII) and relative index of inequality (RII) were calculated, with adjustment for age and self-reported health status.
Korean women were classified into the following BMI categories: underweight (5.3%), normal weight (59.1%), overweight (21.2%), and obese (14.4%). The SII and RII revealed substantial inequalities in obesity in favor of more urbanized women (SII, 4.5; RII, 1.4) and against of women who were highly educated (SII, -16.7; RII, 0.3). Subgroup analysis revealed inequalities in obesity according to household income among younger women and according to urbanization among women aged 65-79 years.
Clear educational inequalities in obesity existed in Korean women. Reverse inequalities in urbanization were also apparent in older women. Developing strategies to address the multiple observed inequalities in obesity among Korean women may prove essential for effectively reducing the burden of this disease.
Keywords: Obesity, Women’s health, Body mass index, Socioeconomic factors
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