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Social inequalities in health among adolescents in a large southern European city
  1. T Duarte-Salles1,
  2. M I Pasarín1,2,3,
  3. C Borrell1,2,3,
  4. M Rodríguez-Sanz1,2,3,
  5. L Rajmil3,4,
  6. M Ferrer3,4,
  7. F Pellisé5,
  8. F Balagué6
  1. 1Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona (ASPB), Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain
  4. 4Agència d'Avaluació de Tecnología i Recerca Mèdiques (AATRM), Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5Hospital Universitari de la Vall d'Hebrón, Barcelona, Spain
  6. 6Hôpital Cantonal, Fribourg, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Talita Duarte Salles, Centro de Investigación en Epidemiología Ambiental, Dr Aiguader 88, Barcelona 08003, Spain; tduarte{at}


Background Numerous health problems are initiated in childhood and adolescence. For example, obesity, which has increased significantly in recent years, often begins in early life. The objective of this study is to describe social inequalities in obesity and other health problems among adolescents, by sex.

Methods Data were from a cross-sectional study conducted in a representative sample of 903 adolescents aged 12–16 years old, from secondary schools in Barcelona, Spain. Associations between socioeconomic indicators and health outcomes (perceived health status, and overweight and obesity) were examined through generalised estimating equation models. All analyses were stratified by sex.

Results Boys were more likely to report very good perceived health status than girls (64.1% and 46.3%, respectively). Some of the less privileged socioeconomic position indicators were associated with the presence of overweight and obesity (prevalence ratio 2.41 for low family affluence scale in girls), and with a lower probability of reporting very good perceived health status among boys (prevalence ratio 0.75 for primary level of paternal education).

Conclusions This study suggests that there are social inequalities in perceived health status, overweight and obesity, measured by different socioeconomic indicators among the adolescent population of Barcelona, and that these inequalities were distributed differently among boys and girls. Gender differences in the impact of socioeconomic variables in health need to be considered in epidemiological and intervention studies.

  • Adolescents
  • socioeconomic position
  • inequalities in health
  • perceived health
  • overweight and obesity
  • sex
  • adolescents CG
  • obesity EPI
  • self-rated health
  • social inequalities

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committee of the Vall d'Hebrón Hospital.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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