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Socioeconomic position and adiposity among children and their parents in the Republic of Belarus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 8
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
DatePublished - Apr 2010


Background: Socio-economic differences in the prevalence of overweight/obesity may be one factor through which health inequalities arise and may vary by the population studied. Methods: Analysing a cohort of 13 889 children born in Belarus between June 1996 and December 1997, the authors investigated associations of parental educational attainment and highest household occupation with: (i) measured body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and skinfold thicknesses at age 6.5 years and (ii) the parents’ reported BMI. Results: Overall, 10% of children, 37% of mothers and 53% of fathers were either overweight or obese. Children from non-manual households were 27% [95% confidence interval (CI): 10%, 47%] more likely to be overweight/obese (based on BMI) than those from manual households. They also had larger waist circumferences and higher percentage body fat (calculated from subscapular and triceps skinfolds). Similar associations for being overweight/obese were seen for fathers [odds ratio (OR), 1.10; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.18], but mothers from non-manual households were less likely to be overweight/obese: (OR, 0.84; 95% CI: 0.79, 0. 90). Associations of childhood and parental overweight/obesity with higher educational status of either parent were similar to those observed for non-manual households. Conclusion: We observed socio-economic differentials in overweight/obesity prevalence among children and their parents in Belarus. More affluent children and their fathers were more likely to be overweight/obese but the reverse was found for mothers.

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