Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Obesity epidemic threatens health of all social groups equally

12.11.2012
It is often assumed that those on low incomes and with low levels of education are overly represented in the major increase in obesity of recent decades.

A new thesis from the Lund University School of Economics and Management, Sweden, shows that obesity is increasing across all social groups and that we need to look at factors other than socioeconomic status to understand and solve one of the major public health concerns of the Western world.

Åsa Ljungvall, a researcher in economics at the Lund University School of Economics and Management, has studied the increase in numbers of people who are overweight or obese over recent decades in Sweden and the US.

“My studies show that the increase in the problem of obesity is taking place across a broad front in all socioeconomic groups. So even if there are differences between different levels of education and income, people are affected fairly evenly by the increase – sometimes even in ways that reduce inequality between the groups. The obesity epidemic is taking place independently of socioeconomic status and affects people more equally than we have previously thought”, says Åsa Ljungvall.

Even if the average waist measurement of a Swede is less than that of an average American, Åsa Ljungvall’s comparative studies indicate similarities.

“We are seeing the same tendency in Sweden as in the US, where the increases in obesity, severe obesity and BMI since 1960 are very similar for groups with different levels of education and income.”

“As we are seeing major increases in all socioeconomic groups, it is perhaps not related to the fact that we don’t know any better or cannot afford to do otherwise. There is something else that affects our behaviour more.”

So why have we become larger and what can be done about the problem? In Åsa Ljungvall’s view, we need to look at something other than socioeconomic factors like education and income to understand and solve one of the major public health problems of the Western world. It is important to keep the distribution of the problem in mind when discussing causes and possible solutions.

At the same time as the major rise in obesity, we have experienced rapid economic and technological development, which is likely to have influenced what choices we make with regard to diet and physical activity. These changes seem to have entailed difficulties in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight.

“How are we affected by factors such as quality and quantity of available food and drink, stress and uncertainty, opportunities for daily exercise, marketing and information?” asks Åsa Ljungvall rhetorically. “Factors such as these affect how difficult it is for people to make the ‘right’ choices and create good habits and norms.”

For more information, please contact:
Åsa Ljungvall, Doctor of Economics at the School of Economics and Management, Lund University. Tel. +46 46 222 86 83 or email Asa.Ljungvall@nek.lu.se

Henrik Killander, Press Officer at the School of Economics and Management, Lund University. Tel. +46 46 222 80 73 or email Henrik.Killander@ehl.lu.se

For more information, please contact:
Åsa Ljungvall, Doctor of Economics at the School of Economics and Management, Lund University. Tel. +46 46 222 86 83 or email Asa.Ljungvall@nek.lu.se

Henrik Killander, Press Officer at the School of Economics and Management, Lund University. Tel. +46 46 222 80 73 or email Henrik.Killander@ehl.lu.se

Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

18.08.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>