Individual and environmental factors associated for overweight in urban population of Brazil

Mendes, Larissa L.; Nogueira, Helena; Padez, Cristina; Ferrao, Maria; Velasquez, Gustavo
November 2013
BMC Public Health;2013, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background Obesity is a significant global public health problem and the main cause of many chronic diseases in both developed and developing countries. The increase in obesity in different populations worldwide cannot be explained solely by metabolic and genetic factors; environmental and social factors also have a strong association with obesity. Thus, it is believed that the current obesity epidemic is the result of a complex combination of genetic factors and an obesogenic environment .The purpose of this study was to evaluate individual variables and variables within the built and social environment for their potential association with overweight and obesity in an urban Brazilian population. Methods Cross-sectional study was carried out in a sample of 3404 adults living in the urban area of the city. Information from the surveillance system for chronic diseases of Brazilian Ministry of Health was used and individual data was collected by telephone interviews. The database was geocoded using the Brazilian System of Postal Codes for participant residences. An updated, existing list based on the current addresses of supermarkets and hypermarkets in the city was used as an indicator variable of the availability and access to food. Georeferenced information on parks, public squares, places for practicing physical activity and the population density were also used to create data on the built environment. To characterize the social environment, we used the health vulnerability index (HVI) and georeferenced data for homicide locations. Results The prevalence was 44% for overweight, poisson regression was used to create the final model. The environment variables that independently associated with overweight were the highest population density, very high health vulnerability index and the homicide rate adjusted for individuals variables. The results of the current study illustrate and confirm some important associations between individual and environmental variables and overweight in a representative sample of adults in the Brazilian urban context. Conclusions The social environment variables relating to the socioeconomic deprivation of the neighborhood and the built environment variables relating to higher walkability were significantly associated with overweight and obesity in Belo Horizonte.


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