Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Variables independently associated with self-reported obesity in the European Union

  • JA Martínez (a1), JM Kearney (a2), A Kafatos (a3), S Paquet (a4) and MA Martínez-Gonzélez (a1)...
Abstract
AbstractObjective

The rapid increase in obesity rates over recent years suggest that cultural and societal influences are affecting the adjustment in the energy balance equation in addition to other physiopathological or genetic determinants. Therefore, a pan-EU study was carried out to explore the influence of sociodemographic factors as well as some attitudes (smoking and exercise) on the prevalence of obesity in the adult population of all 15 member states of the EU.

Design

Overall, a sample of 15 239 individuals aged 15 years and upwards in the EU completed the questionnaire. Subject selection was quota-controlled to make the sample nationally representative following a multistage stratified cluster sampling. Self-reported height and weight were used to calculate body mass index (BMI).

Results

From the EU average results, it can be seen that only about half of the EU population (48%) is within the normal weight range, while the obesity (BMI > ≥ 30 kg m−2) prevalence was about 10% in the EU and the overweight prevalence was 36.6% and 25.6% among men and women, respectively. UK subjects had the highest prevalence of obesity (12%), while Italians, French and Swedes had the lowest levels of obesity (about 7%). Concerning age and social class interactions, logistic regression analysis showed that high social class and younger individuals in all groups had a lower odds ratio for obesity prevalence. People with a higher level of education are less likely to be obese, while the interaction between educational levels and obesity was different for men and women. A low participation in various leisure-time physical activities, the lack of interest (precontemplation) in being involved in exercise/physical activity and the increasing number of hours sitting down at work appear to be predictors of obesity. Single individuals were less prone to become obese than couples or widowed/divorced people. Finally, smoking status was statistically linked to the prevalence of obesity, since non-smokers or ex-smokers for more than 1 year presented a higher tendency for a BMI > 30.

Conclusions

This survey confirms that a priority area for health intervention aimed at preventing the development of obesity should be to increase levels of physical activity, although the approach will depend on the population, especially with respect to educational and socioeconomic aspects.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Variables independently associated with self-reported obesity in the European Union
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Variables independently associated with self-reported obesity in the European Union
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Variables independently associated with self-reported obesity in the European Union
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1A Steptoe , J Wardle . What the experts think: a European study of expert opinion about the influence of lifestyle on health. Eur. J. Epidemiol. 1994; 10: 195203.

2R Ashenden , C Silagy , D Weller . A systematic review of the effectiveness of promoting lifestyle change in general practice. Fam. Pract. 1997; 14: 160–76.

3SN Blair , E Horton , AS Leon , Physical activity, nutrition, and chronic disease. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1996; 28: 335–49.

6JO Hill , JC Peters . Environmental contributions to the obesity epidemic. Science 1998; 280: 1371–4.

8A Drenoski , BM Potkin . The nutrition transition: trends in the global diet. Nutr. Rev. 1997; 55: 3143.

10TP Gill . Key issues in the prevention of obesity. Br. Med. Bull. 1997; 53: 359–88.

11RW Jeffery . Community programs for obesity prevention. Obes. Res. 1995; 3: S203–8.

12G Cowburn , M Hillsdwon , CR Hankey . Obesity management by life-style strategies. Br. Med. Bull. 1997; 53: 389408.

13EH Coakley , EB Rimm , G Colditz , I Kawachi , W Willett . Predictors of weight change in men: results from the health professionals follow-up study. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 1998; 22: 8996.

15RL Kolotkin , S Head , M Hamilton . Assessing the impact of weight on quality of life. Obes. Res. 1995; 3: 4956.

19JD Prochaska , JC Norcross , JL Fowler . Attendance and outcome at work control program: processes and stages of change as process and predictor variables. Addict. Behav. 1992; 17: 3545.

20AM Kriska , CJ Caspersen . Introduction to a collection of physical activity questionnaires. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1997; 29: S5–9.

23WHO–Monica Project. Risk factors. Int. J. Epidemiol. 1989; 18: S46–56.

25AM Prentice , SA Jebb . Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? BMJ 1995; 311: 437–9.

27SL Gortmaker , A Must , JM Perrin , AM Sobal , WH Dietz . Social and economic consequences of overweight in adolescents and young adulthood. N. Engl. J. Med. 1993; 329: 1008–12.

29PJ Brown . Culture and the evolution of obesity. Hum. Nat. 1991; 2: 3157.

31TI Sorenssen , C Holst , AJ Stunkard . Adoption study of environmental modifications of the genetic influences on obesity. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 1998; 22: 7381.

32J Sundquist , SE Johansson . The influence of socio-economic status, ethnicity and lifestyle on body mass index in a longitudinal study. Int. J. Epidemiol. 1998; 27: 5763.

34SP Wamala , A Wolk , K Orth-Gomer . Determinants of obesity in relation to socio-economic status among middle-aged Swedish women. Prev. Med. 1997; 26: 734–44.

35J Sobal , BS Rauschenbach , EA Frongillo Jr. Marital status, fatness and obesity. Soc. Sci. Med. 1992; 35: 915–23.

36EH Friedman . Fatness and obesity among married men at lower risk for mortality and morbidity may be due to less physiological arousal. Soc. Sci. Med. 1993; 36: 583.

37HS Kahn , DF Williamson , JA Stevens . Race and weight change in US women: the roles of socio-economic and marital status. Am. J. Public Health 1991; 81: 319–23.

38AA Herman , KF Yu . Adolescent age at first pregnancy and subsequent obesity. Paediatr. Perinat. Epidemiol. 1997; 11: 130–41.

39WS Wolfe , J Sobal , CM Olson , EA Frongillo Jr. Parity-associated body weight: modification by socio-demographic and behavioural factors. Obes. Res. 1997; 5: 131–41.

40DF Williamson . Smoking cessation and severity of weight gain in a national cohort. N. Engl. J. Med. 1991; 324: 739–45.

42AA Al-Nuaim , EA Bamgboye , KA Al-Rubeaan , Y Al-Mazrou . Overweight and obesity in Saudi Arabian adult population: role of socio-demographic variables. J. Comm. Health 1997; 22: 211–23.

46SJ Fitzgerald , AM Kriska , MA Pereira , MP De-Courten . Associations among physical activity, television watching and obesity in adult Pima Indians. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1997; 29: 910–15.

47JD Prochaska , WF Velicer , JS Rossi . Stages of change and decisional balance for 12 problem behaviours. Health Psychol. 1994; 13: 3946.

48N Haapanen , S Miilunpalo , M Pasanen , P Oja , I Vouri , Association between leisure time physical activity and 10 year body mass change among working-aged men and women. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 1997; 21: 288–96.

51AI Talvi , JO Jarvisalo , LR Knuts , PR Kaitaniemi . Life-style related health promotion needs in oil refinery employees. Occup. Med. 1998; 48: 4553.

53A Steptoe , J Wardle , R Fuller , Leisure-time physical exercise: prevalence, attitudinal correlates, and behavioural correlates among young Europeans from 21 countries. Prev. Med. 1997; 26: 845–54.

55WG Johnson , LK Hinkle , RE Carr , Dietary and exercise interventions for juvenile obesity: long-term effect of behavioural and public health models. Obes. Res. 1997; 5: 257–61.

56M Stafford , H Hemingway , M Marmot . Current obesity, steady weight change and weight fluctuation as predictors of physical functioning in middle aged office workers: the Whitehall II study. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 1998; 22: 2331.

59SN Blair , M Nooth , I Gyarfas , Development of public policy and physical activity initiatives internationally. Sports Med. 1996; 21: 157–63.

60KM Hendricks , NH Herbold . Diet, activity, and other health-related behaviours in college-age women. Nutr. Rev. 1998; 56: 6575.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: