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Socio-economic characteristics and obesity in underdeveloped economies: does income really matter?

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Available evidence suggests that overweight and obesity prevalence is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate in both developed and developing countries. This study focuses on the determinants of overweight in mothers and children, using a unique dataset collected in urban Accra, in Ghana. The findings show that mothers' education, employment status and ethnicity significantly exert influence on the generation of body weight. In particular, those who attained secondary and tertiary education had lower body mass indices and were much less likely to be overweight or obese, lending support to the notion that more educated women normally have better health knowledge and are more likely to consume healthy foods and also engage in physical exercises that help to control weight gain. Mother's education was also found to exert a negative and significant impact on the weight status of children. Furthermore, household expenditure was found to exert a positive and significant impact on the probability of a mother being overweight or obese, but no significant impact on the probability of a child being overweight.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Economics and Consumption Studies, University of Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, 24118 Kiel, Germany

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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