Overweight and weight dissatisfaction related to socio-economic position, integration and dietary indicators among south Asian immigrants in Oslo

Marte Råberg, Bernadette Kumar, Gerd Holmboe-Ottesen, Margareta Wandel
Public Health Nutrition 2010, 13 (5): 695-703

OBJECTIVE: To investigate how socio-economic position, demographic factors, degree of integration and dietary indicators are related to BMI/waist:hip ratio (WHR) and to weight dissatisfaction and slimming among South Asians in Oslo, Norway.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study consisting of a health check including anthropometric measures and two self-administered questionnaires.

SETTING: Oslo, Norway.

SUBJECTS: Pakistanis and Sri Lankans (n 629), aged 30-60 years, residing in Oslo.

RESULTS: BMI was positively associated with female gender (P = 0.004) and Pakistani origin (P < 0.001), and inversely associated with years of education (P = 0.011) and eating more hot meals (P = 0.016). WHR was positively associated with male gender (P < 0.001), age (P < 0.001) and a dietary pattern with high-fat foods (P = 0.005), and inversely associated with degree of integration (measured by a composite index, independent of duration of residence; P = 0.017). One-third of those with normal weight and most of those obese were dissatisfied with their weight. Among these, about 40 % had attempted to slim during the past year. Dissatisfaction with weight was positively associated with education in women (P = 0.006) and with integration in men (P = 0.026), and inversely associated with physical activity (P = 0.044) in men. Women who had made slimming attempts had breakfast and other meals less frequently than others (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Weight dissatisfaction exists among South Asian immigrants. More research is needed regarding bodily dissatisfaction and the relationship between perception of weight and weight-change attempts among immigrants in Norway, in order to prevent and treat both obesity and eating disorders.


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