Socio-Economic, Psychosocial, Lifestyle and Community Factors do not Explain Ethnic Inequalities in Obesity in Disadvantaged Israeli Mothers

Varda Soskolne, Michal Cohen-Dar, Samira Obeid, Nitsa Cohen, Mary C.J. Rudolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Guided by the psycho-social environment approach to explaining health inequalities, this cross-sectional study aimed to assess the contribution of individual and community factors to explaining ethnic inequalities in overweight and obesity between Arab and Jewish mothers of young children in Israel. Data (N = 946, 371 Jewish, 575 Arab mothers) were collected by self-report questionnaire in mid-2015 as part of a special 'Preparation for School' project for children aged 5-6 years from twenty Mother and Child Health clinics in towns and villages of lowest socio-economic ranking in northern Israel. Multinomial logistic regression models were conducted to assess the effect of socio-economic status (SES), psychological, lifestyle behaviour and community food-related practices on mediating the association of ethnicity with overweight and obesity. Overweight and obesity were significantly higher among Arab mothers. The strength of the association of ethnicity with overweight [(odds ratio) OR = 1.80, 95 per cent confidence interval (CI) = 1.31, 2.47] or obesity (OR = 2.14. 95 per cent CI = 1.44, 3.18) remained constant after SES, and other variables were included in two steps. The persistence of ethnic inequalities suggests that the variables included in the analysis did not explain inequalities in this disadvantaged population. Social work may contribute to understanding additional explanatory variables that have the potential to be amenable to change by multidisciplinary and social work interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-919
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.


  • Israel
  • ethnic inequality
  • mothers
  • overweight/obesity
  • socio-economic disadvantage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Socio-Economic, Psychosocial, Lifestyle and Community Factors do not Explain Ethnic Inequalities in Obesity in Disadvantaged Israeli Mothers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this