Social origins, early hardship and obesity: A strong association in women, but not in men ?
Ville, Isabelle; Jusot, Florence; Khlat, Myriam (2009), Social origins, early hardship and obesity: A strong association in women, but not in men ?, Social Science and Medicine, 68, 9, p. 1692-1699. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.02.024
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
Journal nameSocial Science and Medicine
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Abstract (EN)This study investigates the relation between early life conditions and adult obesity in France, using a rich data set collected through the 2003 nationally representative Life History Survey. No salient factor emerged in men, while in women, after controlling for current socio-demographic characteristics, a relation was found between obesity and the following factors: father’s occupation (OR ¼ 3.2 for women whose father was a clerical worker, versus those whose father was in a higher-level occupation); experience of economic hardship in childhood (OR ¼ 2.0), and; high parity (OR ¼ 2.1 for parities of more than 3 versus parity of 1). Neither early family history nor mother’s working status surfaced as significant factors. Those findings highlight a definite gender pattern, with a strong association between early disadvantage and obesity in women, but not in men. Potential mechanisms are discussed, particularly the ‘‘habitus’’, the ‘‘thrifty phenotype’’ and the ‘‘feast–famine’’ hypotheses, and possible interactions with childbearing and motherhood. An integration of social and biological perspectives is needed to reach a better understanding of the processes involved, and to achieve progress in primary and secondary prevention.
Subjects / KeywordsGenre; Obésité; Origine sociale; Economie de la santé; Early hardship; Gender; Family history; Social origins; Body mass index (BMI); Obesity; France
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