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Sex-specific role of education on the associations of socioeconomic status indicators with obesity risk: A population-based study in South Korea

 Woojin Chung  ;  Jaeyeun Kim  ;  Seung-Ji Lim  ;  Sunmi Lee 
 PLOS ONE, Vol.13(1) : e0190499, 2018 
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Issue Date
Cross-Sectional Studies ; Female ; Humans ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Nutrition Surveys ; Obesity/*epidemiology ; Republic of Korea/epidemiology ; Risk Factors ; *Sex Factors ; *Socioeconomic Factors
BACKGROUND: No study of obesity risk for people in developed countries has conducted a multi-dimensional analysis of the association of socioeconomic status with obesity. In this paper, we investigated if education functions as either a confounder or an effect modifier in the association of another socioeconomic status indicator with obesity. METHODS: This cross-sectional study analyzed data of an adult population sample (10,905 men and 14,580 women) from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2010-2014). The study performed multivariate logistic regression analyses for three education levels and four indicators of socioeconomic status (i.e., marital status, residential area, occupation, and income). RESULTS: The overall prevalence of obesity was 38.1% in men and 29.1% in women (p < 0.001). In men, while education functioned as an effect modifier in the association between marital status and obesity (p for interaction = 0.006), it functioned as both a confounder (p < 0.001) and an effect modifier (p for interaction < 0.001) in the association between residential area and obesity. In contrast, in women, education functioned as a confounder in the association of residential area with obesity (p = 0.010). However, it functioned as both a confounder (p < 0.001) and an effect modifier (p for interaction = 0.012) in the association between income and obesity. A prediction showed that unlike in women, education was positively associated with obesity risk for some socioeconomic indicator groups in men; for example, in a rural resident group, a higher level of education increased the probability of being obese by 19.7%. CONCLUSIONS: The present study suggests the need to examine sex-specific studies regarding the role of education on the association between other socioeconomic status indicators and obesity. This should be considered in planning education policies to reduce the risk of obesity.
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4. Graduate School of Public Health (보건대학원) > Graduate School of Public Health (보건대학원) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Chung, Woo Jin(정우진) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2090-4851
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