Effects of occupational and educational changes on obesity trends in France: The results of the MONICA-France survey 1986–2006
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OBJECTIVE: In the past decade, the obesity prevalence in France steadily increased. In the meantime the occupational and educational status of the population improved. This study examined the impact of these changes on obesity trends in France. METHODS: In the MONICA-France surveys in 1986, 1996 and 2006, 5423 men and 5271 women (35-64 yr old) were randomly recruited from electoral rolls in three areas of France (northern, eastern and south-western). We used a logistic regression to assess the association between obesity and time and occupational/educational categories and their interactions and a counterfactual analysis to assess the contributions of occupational and educational changes to obesity trends. RESULTS: Between 1986 and 2006, the prevalence of obesity rose from 15.0% to 18.4% (p < 0.004) in men and remained stable between 15.9% and 17.2% (p = 0.72) in women. Obesity increased in all occupational categories only in men (men: p = 0.0005; women: p < 0.22) and all educational categories in both genders (p < 0.0001). The estimated contributions of occupational (educational) changes to obesity trends were -0.3% (-2.8%) in men and -1.9% (-4.6%) in women. CONCLUSION: The improvement in the French population's occupational status and educational level between 1986 and 2006 tended to reduce the impact of secular trends on the obesity prevalence.
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