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Inequalities in Body Mass Index and Smoking Behavior in 70 Countries: Evidence for a Social Transition in Chronic Disease Risk

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Fleischer, N.L., Ana Diez Roux, and A.E. Hubbard. 2012. "Inequalities in Body Mass Index and Smoking Behavior in 70 Countries: Evidence for a Social Transition in Chronic Disease Risk." American Journal of Epidemiology, 175(3): 167-176.

Despite the growing burden of chronic disease globally, few studies have examined the socioeconomic patterning of risk across countries. The authors examined differences in the social patterning of body mass index (BMI) and current smoking by urbanicity among 70 countries from the 2002-2003 World Health Surveys. Age-adjusted, gender-stratified ordinary least squares and logistic regression analyses were conducted in each country to assess the relation between education and BMI Of smoking. Meta-analytic techniques were used to assess heterogeneity between countries in the education-risk factor relations. Meta-regression was used to determine whether the heterogeneity could be explained by country-level urbanicity. In the least urban countries, persons with higher education had a higher BMI, while the opposite pattern was seen in the most urban countries, with this pattern being especially pronounced among women. In contrast, smoking was consistently concentrated among persons of lower education among all men and among women in the least urban countries. For women in the most urban countries, higher education was associated with higher odds of smoking, although there was substantial variability in this relation. These results highlight a global trend toward an increasing burden of chronic disease risk among persons of lower socioeconomic position as countries become more urban.

DOI:10.1093/aje/kwr314 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3261437. (Pub Med Central)

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