Background: The relationship between socioeconomic status and risk of overweight and/or obesity is not consistent across populations and this limits evidence-based preventive health and service planning. This study aimed to identify better mechanisms of population health planning for overweight and obesity.
Methods: Secondary analysis was conducted on the adult subset of the Sentinel Practices Data Sourcing project database. Primary care interactions were aggregated for all patients visiting 17 General Practices within a regional catchment area of NSW between September 2011-2013 (n=36,674). Height and weight measurements were recorded by practitioners. Age-adjusted odds ratio of overweight and obesity was determined for high and low levels of socioeconomic disadvantage based on Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) - Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD) scores of patients’ residential statistical local area. Additionally, spatial mapping of modelled estimates of obesity and overweight prevalence were undertaken to identify geographic hotspots of high BMI within the study catchment.
Results: In men, overweight was lowest in areas of highest socioeconomic disadvantage (OR = 0.910; 95%CI: 0.830; 0.998); but no association with socioeconomic score was found for women. Obesity was associated with socioeconomic disadvantage in both men and women (OR = 1.300; 1.218-1.388; total group). Geospatial mapping also revealed higher prevalence of overweight in areas of relatively low levels of socio-economic disadvantage.
Conclusions: This type of data analysis incorporating multiple layers of evidence provides a population health approach to curb the obesity and overweight epidemic by targeting specific patients for preventive efforts.
Funding Source: Coordinare South Eastern NSW PHN