Project Description

Socioeconomic Inequalities in Body Mass Index across Adulthood: Coordinated Analyses of Individual Participant Data from Three British Birth Cohort Studies Initiated in 1946, 1958 and 1970

In this report, researchers from across the UK used longitudinal studies to analyse the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic position (SEP) across three birth cohorts. To do so they gathered data on both these factors across the lifespan to study the progress of this relationship.

From the data they found that for both men and women, a lower SEP in childhood resulted in a higher BMI in adulthood, and this was seen to a similar extent across all three cohorts. The consistency of these inequalities and their implications for public health and wellbeing, as well as impacting the costs of health services, suggest the need for policy intervention to tackle SEP inequality.

Although the problem of connected SEP and BMI was found across all cohorts, there was a slight increase in this for those born more recently and those a bit older, indicating that this trend is increasing. This interaction was also seen to be more common amongst lower SEP women.

The report states that interventions targeting disadvantaged populations have worked to decrease BMI, this can be expanded to a wider population to better examine the results of this. A key element of this is targeting the lack of socioeconomic resources that lower SEP children would not have access to, and looking to help tackle childhood obesity.

“Reducing childhood obesity has always been a core component of Evolve’s mission and we are acutely aware of the complexities and scope of this issue. A long term view that addresses social inequalities and the attainment gap is essential.

This report demonstrates that serious and immediate attention is required. Early intervention is recommended within this report but a coordinated approach involving all Government stakeholders is needed if it is to be successful.”

-John Bishop, Evolve Managing Director

To read the full report, click here.

Project Details