Relationship between socioeconomic and nutritional status in the Serbian adult population: a cross-sectional study

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Socioeconomic status is a well-known risk factor for obesity. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between socioeconomic and nutritional status in the Serbian adult population. DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional study on data from the 2013 National Health Survey performed in Serbia. METHODS: The study population consisted of adults aged ≥ 20 years. Face-to-face interviews and anthropometric measurements were conducted by trained staff. Associations between body mass index and sociodemographic variables were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Out of 12,461 subjects of both sexes, 36.4% were overweight and 22.4% were obese. The prevalences of overweight and obesity differed significantly between the sexes, regarding all sociodemographic characteristics. Among women, educational attainment was associated with lower risk of being overweight (odds ratio, OR = 0.82; 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.69-0.98 for medium-level and OR = 0.77; CI: 0.62-0.97 for higher education) or obese (OR = 0.68; CI: 0.57-0.82 for medium-level and OR = 0.41; CI: 0.31-0.54 for higher education). In contrast, medium-level (OR = 1.28; CI: 1.08-1.52) and highly educated men (OR = 1.39; CI: 1.11-1.74) were more frequently overweight than were those with low education. Among men, grade I obesity was positively related to the richest wealth index group (OR = 1.27), while the opposite was true for grade II obesity among women (OR = 0.61). CONCLUSION: This study showed significant socioeconomic inequalities in nutritional status between men and women. Continuous monitoring of socioeconomic patterns relating to weight is important, especially with further exploration of the link between education and obesity.