STUDY OBJECTIVE--To assess changes in the body mass index (BMI, weight (kg)/height2 (m2)) and in the prevalence of obesity in Swedish women during the 1980s. DESIGN--Data from two successive cross sectional surveys were used. SETTING--The whole of Sweden. SUBJECTS--A total of 7419 women from a 1980-81 survey (response rate 84.6%) and 6306 women from a 1988-89 survey (response rate 80.3%), aged 16-84 years, and forming a representative sample of Swedish women. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--The results were based on self reported weight and height during interview. The mean BMI of the whole population, adjusted for age, education level, socioeconomic group, region, and nationality, increased by 0.17 kg/m2 (p = 0.0056) over the eight year period. The increase was particularly pronounced in the group aged 25-34 years (0.74 kg/m2; p < 0.0001, which corresponds to more than 2 kg for a woman 168 cm tall). The higher mean BMI was also reflected in the relative increase in the prevalence of obesity (BMI > 28.6 kg/m2) by 19% (odds ratio (OR) = 1.19; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.37) and of the combination of overweight and obesity (BMI > 23.8 kg/m2) by 12% (OR = 1.12; 95% CI 1.03, 1.23) in the whole female population. CONCLUSIONS--During the 1980s the mean BMI and the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adult Swedish women increased. An influence of the sociocultural environment on the body weight in women was stronger than that in men.
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