Trends in social inequality in overweight and obesity among adolescents in Denmark 1998-2018

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OBJECTIVES: The aim was to analyze trends in overweight and obesity in relation to socioeconomic position among Danish adolescents in the 20-year period 1998-2018.

METHODS: The study used data on self-reported height and weight and parents' occupational social class (OSC) from 11-, 13- and 15-year-old schoolchildren in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018, n = 22,177. The analyses included absolute social inequality in overweight/obesity (prevalence difference between low and high OSC) and relative social inequality (OR for overweight/obesity).

RESULTS: In the total sample, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was 9.7% and 1.4%, respectively, with significantly higher prevalence in low than high OSC. There were significantly increasing trends in both overweight and obesity 1998-2018 in low OSC and no significant increase in high OSC. The OR for overweight was 1.59 (1.42-1.74) in middle and 2.16 (1.89-2.46) in low OSC, OR for obesity 1.74 (1.29-2.34) in middle and 2.97 (2.15-4.11) in low OSC. Associations were not modified by survey year.

CONCLUSIONS: There was a persistent absolute and relative social inequality in overweight and obesity 1998-2018 among Danish adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of public health
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)607-616
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Adolescents
  • HBSC
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Social inequality
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Trend study
  • Prevalence
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Surveys/statistics & numerical data
  • Self Report
  • Obesity/epidemiology
  • Overweight/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Child

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