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      Do burdens of underweight and overweight coexist among lower socioeconomic groups in India?

      The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

      Young Adult, Adolescent, Adult, Body Mass Index, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, India, epidemiology, Middle Aged, Overweight, Prevalence, Rural Health, trends, Social Class, Socioeconomic Factors, Thinness, Urban Health

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          Abstract

          The coexistence of underweight and overweight in rapidly developing economies is well recognized. However, less is known about the socioeconomic patterning of underweight and overweight as economies move through the epidemiologic transition. The objective was to assess whether burdens of underweight and overweight coexist among lower socioeconomic groups in India. Repeated cross-sectional analyses were conducted in nationally representative samples of 76,514 and 80,054 women aged 15-49 y drawn from the 1998-1999 and 2005-2006 Indian National Family Health Survey, respectively. Body mass index (in kg/m(2)) was used to measure weight status. We also calculated a ratio of the number of underweight women (<18.5) divided by the number of overweight women (>24.9). Indicators of socioeconomic status (SES) included wealth and education. Although the ratio of underweight to overweight women decreased from 3.3 in 1998-1999 to 2.2 in 2005-2006, there were still considerably more underweight women than overweight women. It was only in the top wealth quintile and in groups with higher education that there was a slight excess of overweight women as compared with underweight women. There was a strong positive relation between SES and body mass index at both time points and across urban and rural areas. A positive relation between SES and body mass index was also observed for men in 2005-2006. The distribution of underweight and overweight in India remains socially segregated. Despite rapid economic growth, India has yet to experience a situation in which underweight and overweight coexist in the low-SES groups.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          19515733
          2709313
          10.3945/ajcn.2009.27487

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