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Association of Weight Change With Ethnicity and Life Course Socioeconomic Position Among Brazilian Civil Servants

Publication Abstract

Chang, Jui-Shan, E. Faerstein, George A. Kaplan, John W. Lynch, and C.S. Lopes. 2004. "Association of Weight Change With Ethnicity and Life Course Socioeconomic Position Among Brazilian Civil Servants." International Journal of Epidemiology, 33(1): 100-106.

Background Adult weight gain is generally associated with ethnicity of African descent, in addition to low socioeconomic position (SEP), but little information is available from the African diaspora in less-developed countries. We evaluated ethnic differences in adult weight change and the role of life course SEP in those differences. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data (1999-2001) from 2594 non-faculty civil servants working at university campuses in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and participating in the longitudinal Pro-Saude Study. Weight and height were measured at study entry whereas ethnicity, markers of SEP, and weight at age 20 were assessed through self-administered questionnaire. Results Black and mulatto women gained, respectively, an excess of 1.6 kg and 1.2 kg per 10 years of adult life, compared with whites. After adjustment for markers of participants' early and later-life SEP, the estimates of excess weight gain for black and mulatto women decreased by about one-third, but a statistically significant estimate was still observed for black women. Among men, neither unadjusted nor adjusted ethnic gradients in weight gain were relevant. Conclusions Only among women, black and mulatto ethnicity was associated with increased weight gain, which was partially explained through the association with their lower SEP.

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