A population perspective on obesity prevention : lessons learned from Sweden and the U.S.
Obesity prevalences are increasing in Sweden and the US. Obesity has many health consequences and health risks are associated with small increases in weight and marked obesity. Cross-sectional and panel surveys from northern Sweden and upstate NY provide the basis for furthering understanding of body mass index (BMI) development. BMI and weight change (+/-3%) were used to evaluate obesity and weight loss, maintenance, or gain. The 1989 prevalences of obesity were 9.6% and 21.3% in Sweden and the US; 1999 prevalences were 18.4% and 32.3%. Ten-year incidences (1989-1999) of overweight and obesity were 337/1000 and 120/1000 for Sweden and 336/1000 and 173/1000 for the US. Cross-sectional data suggest obesity is a problem of older age while panel data show that the young are gaining weight most rapidly. Individual changes in BMI have similar trends for Sweden and the US; the majority of adults are gaining weight. Older age, being a woman, higher BMI, and type 2 diabetes were associated with higher odds of weight non-gain. Younger age, being a man, being married and using snuff (snus) increased the odds of weight gain. The obese were 2-7 times more likely to report self-rated poor health. Healthy behaviours explain more of the person-to-person variability in BMI than do unhealthy behaviours or chronic diseases. Encouraging trends were found among Västerbotten Intervention Programme participants: a higher proportion of adults maintained weight in more recent survey years. The proportion of weight-gaining adults with identified health risk factors is smaller than those without risk factors. Frequently weight maintenance is felt to be important only for those identified as having a problem with weight or an obesity-related health condition. The largest proportion of those gaining weight are those with a normal BMI. Obesity prevention should target those usually considered low-risk (young, without cardiovascular risk factors, normal BMI).
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:Public health; body weight changes; body mass index; cross-sectional studies; health behavior; health surveys; New York/epidemiology; obesity; rural health; self-rated health; Sweden/epidemiology; United States/epidemiology; Folkhälsomedicin; Epidemiology; epidemiologi
Date of Publication:01/01/2006