Introduction Patterns of socioeconomic inequalities in obesity and overweight have not been documented for Turkey. This study aimed to describe educational and wealth-related inequalities for overweight in Turkey, taking a regional perspective.
Methods Data from the World Health Survey 2002 for Turkey was used. Among the respondents 20 years and older, 3790 women and 4057 men had data on self-reported height and weight. Respondents were classified according to education years and a wealth score derived from the availability of household assets. Logistic regression analysis was applied to assess the relationship between overweight and socioeconomic factors. Analyses were stratified by sex and region (West, Mediterranean, Middle, Black Sea, East).
Results Age-adjusted overweight prevalence is 48.4% for women and 46.1% for men. For men, education was not systematically related to overweight while overweight was significantly increased among the highest wealth groups. For women, the prevalence of overweight was highest for low-educated and middle-wealth groups. The size of the inequalities in overweight showed only small regional variations. In the East, however, overweight prevalence was more related to higher socioeconomic position than in the other regions.
Conclusion Socioeconomic inequalities for overweight in Turkey are at a similar level as in most European countries, and especially comparable to southern Europe. The smaller inequalities in the East correspond to the low level of socioeconomic development at this part of the country.
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