Social Disparities in Overweight and Obesity among Nearly Elderly and Elderly People in Taiwan

Zhihong Sa, University of Maryland
Ulla M. Larsen, University of Maryland

This study assessed the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and overweight and obesity among near elderly (aged 53-69) and elderly (age 70+) people, using a longitudinal survey data in Taiwan. Multivariate OLS regression models showed that mainlander status and current income were positively associated with body mass index (BMI) among near elderly and elderly men. In contrast, SES was not related to BMI in elderly women, while education was inversely associated with BMI among near elderly women. The associations between SES and BMI persisted after controlling for health behaviors and social support. Despite the overall modest association between SES and overweight and obesity among the elderly, the shifting pattern in the link between SES and overweight and obesity between near elderly and elderly women indicates an emerging social disparity in overweight and obesity in Taiwan. The findings suggest that patterns of social gradients in obesity are conditioned upon socioeconomic and cultural contexts.

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Presented in Poster Session 5