Overweight, stature, and socioeconomic status among women - Cause or effect: Israel national women's health interview survey, 1998

D. N. Kaluski, A. Chinich, A. Leventhal, A. Ifrah, I. Cohen-Mannheim, D. Merom, M. S. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine if short stature and overweight/obesity are predictors of low socioeconomic status (SES), measured by educational attainment. Design: A cross-sectional study on a random sample carried out through telephone interviews over a period of five months (March through August 1998). Subjects: A total of 1587 Jewish and Arab Israeli women-773 women age 20-44 years, and 814 women age 45-74 years. Methods: Two cross-sectional telephone surveys were conducted; both times, telephone numbers were drawn from the population registry. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine significant predictors of body mass index (BMI), while controlling for population group, parity, smoking, and physical activity. Results: The level of one's education and one's stature were significantly, independently associated with BMI. Low stature and obesity were indicators of low educational attainment. Limitations: The subjects of the study reported their own weight and height. The tendency to overestimate one's height and underestimate one's weight places the accuracy of data under question. However, as there is no reason to believe that the biases in the reports would vary with educational status, the results of the study remain valid. Conclusions: Obesity/overweight is directly related to the level of education and inversely to stature. Together, one's level of education and stature may be determinants of low SES. Therefore, in subpopulations with high rates of obesity and short stature, comprehensive programs should include welfare in addition to dietary measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gender-Specific Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Physiology


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