Introduction Chronic diseases associated with obesity reduce quality of life, are a major cause of death, and have a direct impact on the demand for hospital care and the attendant costs. Lifestyles such as diet and physical activity feature prominently among the factors influencing these diseases. However, environmental factors such as deprivation may limit the range of options for healthier lifestyles. We examine factors influencing the risk of obesity-related diseases, and how these differ by degree of deprivation.
Methods We carry out a probit regression analysis of linked hospitalisation episode data from the Scottish Morbidity Records that have been administratively linked to respondents to the Scottish Health Surveys. The outcome measures are obesity-related cancers, heart diseases, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and peripheral vascular diseases identified by International Classification of Diseases (ICD9 and ICD10) codes.
Results Compared with the respective reference groups, men, older age, current smoker, being overweight or obese, and the poorer in general health are associated with a greater risk of an obesity-related disease. On the other hand, being married, education, spending more time doing a sporting activity, and better dietary behaviour are associated with a lower risk of an obesity-related disease. However, increasing time spent doing sporting activity reduces the risk of an obesity-related disease in the most deprived group, while a better dietary behaviour achieves this in the least deprived group.
Conclusion Interventions targeting lifestyles to reduce obesity-related morbidity in the population may have differential effects between the least and the most disadvantaged groups.
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