Overweight and obesity are becoming increasingly critical problems in most developed countries. Approximately 20% of adults in most European countries are obese. This study examines the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Luxembourg and their association with different demographic, socioeconomic (SES), and behavioural factors.
The data used in this study were taken from 2 surveys on household income and living conditions conducted in 1995 and 2007. The target population was household residents aged 16 years and older, and body mass index (BMI) data were self-reported. Average BMI, overweight, and obesity prevalence rates were calculated according to each demographic (gender, nationality, marital status), SES (educational level, profession, and place of residence), and behavioural (physical activity and diet) factors. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to measure the relationship between obesity and demographic, SES, and behavioural factors. All analyses were conducted according to gender, and data used were weighted.
Between 1995 and 2007, the average BMI remained nearly constant among men and women in the entire study population. Obesity prevalence increased by 24.5% through the study period (14.3% in 1995 to 17.8% in 2007). Obesity prevalence increased by 18.5% for men (15.1% in 1995 to 17.9% in 2007) and by 30% for women (13.6% in 1995 to 17.7% in 2007). Between 1995 and 2007, obesity increased sharply by 48.2% (from 11% to 16.3%) in Portuguese men, 76.7% (from 13.3% to 23.5%) in Portuguese women, 79.7% (from 17.2% to 30.9%) in widowed men, and 84.3% (from 12.1% to 22.3%) in divorced women. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the relationship between the educational level and obesity was not statistically significant for men, but was significant for women.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity is high in Luxembourg and has changed slightly in recent years. SES inequalities in obesity exist and are most compelling among women. The fight against obesity should focus on education, with emphasis on the socially disadvantaged segment of the population.