Does Obesity Differ by Socioeconomic Status in Middle Aged Men?




Joseph, Giftson
Morgan, Grant
Schmitz, Kevin
Hartos, Jessica


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Purpose: Obesity is a devastating health issue that is increasing in prevalence in the United States, but little is known regarding the relationship between obesity and income level amongst middle aged men. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess whether there is a relationship between obesity and socioeconomic status in 35-44 year old males. Methods: This cross sectional analysis used 2014 BRFSS data for males ages 35 to 44 from Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, and Indiana. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between obesity and socioeconomic level which included income level, education level, and employment, while controlling for children at home, exercise, ethnicity, sleep, and metropolitan status. Results: A low proportion of the target population reported being obese ( 34-37%), and socioeconomic status categories range from low to high across states. After controlling for demographic and social factors, obesity was significantly related to education level (moderate to large effect sizes) in Michigan and Indiana. Conclusions: Overall, obesity was not shown to be related to socioeconomic status in general population samples of middle aged males. In primary care settings, it can be assumed that 34% of people will be obese. Due to a cross sectional design, this study could not assess the relationship between obesity and socioeconomic status over time. Although this study could not determine a relationship between obesity and income level, it is recommended that primary care practitioners know about, assess, and educate their middle aged male patients about the health risks of obesity.