Sociodemographic and behavioural correlates of weight status among women with children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods

A M MacFarlane, G R Abbott, D A Crawford, K Ball
International Journal of Obesity 2009, 33 (11): 1289-98

OBJECTIVE: To investigate sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics associated with weight status among women with children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES: A total of 1680 women aged 18-46 years, living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods with dependent children (aged 0-18 years), provided self-report data on height and weight and a range of sociodemographic and behavioural (for example, dietary intake, physical activity and time spent sitting) characteristics.

RESULTS: Half of the women were classified as having a healthy weight (body mass index=18.5-25). Bivariable ordinal logistic regression analyses indicated that a healthy weight status was associated with a range of sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics. In a multivariable model, a healthy weight status among women was associated with being younger and unmarried, speaking a language other than English at home, having a medium or high level of education, and a partner with a high level of education, having a high household income, spending more time engaged in leisure-time physical activity and less time spent sitting, and having a lower consumption of soft drink.

DISCUSSION: The present findings highlight that a considerable proportion of women with children living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods manage to maintain a healthy weight. Acknowledging the cross-sectional nature of this study, strategies aimed at helping women with children in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas to maintain their weight should focus on increasing physical activity, and reducing sitting time and soft drink consumption.

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