Social Diversification of Overweight and Obesity in Adults in Poland

Andrzej Jopkiewicz, Stanisław Bogdan Nowak, Anita Szwed


Overweight and obesity are connected with environmental factors to a greater degree than with genetic and psychological factors, because in their aetiology the focus is mostly on two factors, i.e. inappropriate diet and a sedentary lifestyle. This is an increasingly widespread phenomenon that harms the health and quality of life in adults, and also contributes to a decrease in their efficiency at work. The study aimed to evaluate the social diversification of overweight and obesity in adults living in different social environments in Swietokrzyskie region of Poland. The study was based on a questionnaire and observations, and encompassed 517 women and 515 men aged between 20 and 59 years. The questionnaire included questions about the characteristics of the social and family environment; while the observation involved anthropometric measurements of the basic somatic traits that were used to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) and Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR), which in turn were used to evaluate the occurrence of overweight and obesity. The incidence of overweight and obese adults showed a clear increase with age and displayed considerable social diversification, especially in the case of the women, among whom a better financial situation and a higher level of education correlated with a more slender body shape and a smaller increase in the incidence of overweight and obesity. The increase in the number of overweight and obese adult persons who lived in the different social environments in Poland was only slightly smaller than the increase in other European countries. Overall, the social diversification of overweight and obesity in adult persons indicates that Polish women are more health-aware than men.


aged 20–60, BMI, WHR, WHtR, place of residence, economic situation, financial situation, education

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