Socioeconomic inequality of overweight and obesity of the elderly in Iran: Bushehr Elderly Health (BEH) Program
Background: The objective of this population-based, large sample size study was to investigate the socioeconomic inequality of overweight and obesity among the elderly in Iran.
Methods: Baseline data of 3000 persons aged ≥60 years who participated in the Bushehr Elderly Health (BEH) program was analyzed. Overweight and obesity were defined as a body mass index (BMI) equal to or higher than 25 and 30, respectively. Socioeconomic status (SES) was measured by an asset index, constructed using principal component analysis, income, education level, and employment status. The Concentration Index and the Lorenz curve were used to illustrate the levels of inequality for overweight and obesity by gender.
Results: The frequencies among men and women were, respectively, 840 (57.7%) and 1131 (73.2%), P < 0.001, for overweight, and 211 (14.7%) and 511 (33.7%), P < 0.001, for obesity. There were direct associations between asset index quintiles and both overweight and obesity among both genders (Ps for trend <0.01) except for obesity among men (P for trend = 0.118). The overall Concentration Indices for overweight and obesity were 0.031 (95%CI = 0.016-0.046, P < 0.001) and 0.041 (95%CI = 0.004-0.078, p = 0.028), respectively.
Conclusion: Findings support the direct relationship between SES and obesity among women as previously reported in developing countries.
Keywords: Elderly; Iran; Obesity; Overweight; Socioeconomic Status.