Education key to protect women in urban areas against obesity

Washington: Education plays an important role in reducing the negative impact on women`s health, a new study suggests.

Researchers at UCL looked into the rise in obesity associated with the burgeoning industrial and service sectors in low- and middle-income countries, and found that women with no formal education who were working in sedentary occupations were twice as likely to be `centrally obese`.

However, for women with at least some degree of formal education, there was no such association. Educated women in sedentary occupations were no more likely to be centrally obese than educated women with agricultural occupations.

The study looked at a sample of 2,465 women aged 60 plus years who participated in the Chinese Four Provinces study funded by Alzheimer`s Research UK and conducted by Dr Ruoling Chen while based at UCL.

The study asked whether educated women had lower levels of obesity than their uneducated counterparts when they made a move from agricultural to non-agricultural jobs. The study also allowed for the impact of health behaviours including dietary patterns, smoking and alcohol consumption which are all known to affect obesity risk.

The study is published in the journal BMC Public Health.