Educational inequality in the occurrence of abdominal obesity:Pró-Saúde Study

<div><p>OBJECTIVE To estimate the degree of educational inequality in the occurrence of abdominal obesity in a population of non-faculty civil servants at university campi.METHODS In this cross-sectional study, we used data from 3,117 subjects of both genders aged 24 to 65-years old, regarding the baseline ofPró-Saúde Study, 1999-2001. Abdominal obesity was defined according to abdominal circumference thresholds of 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men. A multi-dimensional, self-administered questionnaire was used to evaluate education levels and demographic variables. Slope and relative indices of inequality, and Chi-squared test for linear trend were used in the data analysis. All analyses were stratified by genders, and the indices of inequality were standardized by age.RESULTS Abdominal obesity was the most prevalent among women (43.5%; 95%CI 41.2;45.9), as compared to men (24.3%; 95%CI 22.1;26.7), in all educational strata and age ranges. The association between education levels and abdominal obesity was an inverse one among women (p < 0.001); it was not statistically significant among men (p = 0.436). The educational inequality regarding abdominal obesity in the female population, in absolute terms (slope index of inequality), was 24.0% (95%CI 15.5;32.6). In relative terms (relative index of inequality), it was 2.8 (95%CI 1.9;4.1), after the age adjustment.CONCLUSIONS Gender inequality in the prevalence of abdominal obesity increases with older age and lower education. The slope and relative indices of inequality summarize the strictly monotonous trend between education levels and abdominal obesity, and it described educational inequality regarding abdominal obesity among women. Such indices provide relevant quantitative estimates for monitoring abdominal obesity and dealing with health inequalities.</p></div>