Department of Pediatrics, Child Growth and Development Research Center, Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-Communicable Disease, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

1 Department of Urology, School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
2 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Modeling in Health Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
3 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Physiology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran



The current study aims to evaluate socioeconomic inequality in growth disorders and its determinants in Iranian children and adolescents.


In this nationwide cross-sectional survey, 14,880 students aged 6–18 years were selected through multistage cluster sampling method from urban and rural areas of 30 provinces of Iran in 2011. Socioeconomic status (SES) was calculated using principle component analysis. Socioeconomic inequality in growth disorders (including; underweight, excess weight, overweight, general obesity, abdominal obesity, and short stature) was assessed using concentration index (C) and slope index of inequality (SII). The Oaxaca Blinder decomposition method was used to determine determinants of this inequality.


Totally, 13,486 students participated in this study (participation rate: 90.6%), comprising 50.8% boys and 75.6% urban inhabitants. Their mean age was 12.47 ± 3.36 years with no significant gender difference. The prevalence of excess weight, overweight, and general and abdominal obesity increased linearly as SES increased, and the prevalence of underweight and short stature decreased linearly as SES increased. The C index for underweight and short stature was negative, which suggests that inequality was in favor of high SES groups, and regarding overweight, excess weight, general and abdominal obesity, the index was positive, indicating that inequality was in favor of in low SES groups.


Our findings show a considerable inequality in prevalence of growth disorders in Iranian children and adolescents. These findings provide practical information for health policies and programs.