Socioeconomic factors and childhood overweight in Europe: results from the multi-centre IDEFICS study
Bammann K, Gwozd W, Lanfer A et al
To assess the association between different macro- and micro-level socioeconomic factors and childhood overweight.
Data from the IDEFICS baseline survey is used to investigate the cross-sectional association between socioeconomic factors, like socioeconomic status (SES), and the prevalence of childhood overweight. Differences and similarities regarding this relationship in eight European regions (located in Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden) are explored. 11 994 children (50.9% boys, 49.1% girls) and their parents were included in the analyses.
In five of the eight investigated regions (in Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Spain and Sweden), the prevalence of childhood overweight followed an inverse SES gradient. In the other three regions (in Cyprus, Hungary and Italy), no association between SES and childhood overweight was found. The SES-overweight association in a region was best explained by the country-specific human development index and the centre-specific mean income. For the investigated association between other socioeconomic factors and overweight, no clear pattern could be found in the different regions.
The association between socioeconomic factors and childhood overweight was shown to be heterogeneous across different European regions. Further research on nationwide European data is needed to confirm the results and to identify target groups for prevention.
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