What explains socioeconomic inequality in obesity between England and Scotland?


Eberth, B. and Gerdtham, U-G. (HERU)


The project investigated whether obesity prevalence amongst the adult population in England and Scotland is income related and whether it is concentrated amongst the poor; what factors can explain this concentration; and what explains the observed difference between England and Scotland using the commonly used concentration index. Decomposition analysis was used to investigate the determinants of income related obesity inequality within each country and the factors that may explain differences between the two countries. As expected, the poor were significantly more likely to be obese relative to the rich in both countries; the estimated concentration being higher in Scotland. The main drivers of this finding were shown to be educational attainment and income. The implication for tackling obesity inequalities is that measures impacting on income inequality per se will not necessarily be as effective unless they increase the incomes of the poor. Interventions to reduce obesity prevalence should also target those already disadvantaged in terms of education level.






Eberth, B. and Gerdtham U-G. What socioeconomic factors explain inequalities in obesity in England and Scotland? A decomposition analysis. Scottish Economic Society Conference. Perth, April 2008.

Eberth, B. and Gerdtham U-G. Why is inequality in obesity more pro-rich in Scotland than in England? The role of permanent income in decomposition analysis. European Conference on Health Economics. Rome, July 2008.