Socioeconomic inequalities in overweight and obesity among 6- to 9-year-old children in 24 countries from the World Health Organization European region

Marta Buoncristiano, Julianne Williams, Philippa Simmonds, Eha Nurk, Wolfgang Ahrens, Paola Nardone, Ana Isabel Rito, Harry Rutter, Ingunn Holden Bergh, Gregor Starc, Kenisha Russell Jonsson, Angela Spinelli, Stefanie Vandevijvere, Päivi Mäki, Sanja Musić Milanović, Benoît Salanave, Mahmut S. Yardim, Tatjana Hejgaard, Anna Fijałkowska, Shynar AbdrakhmanovaZulfiya Abdurrahmonova, Vesselka Duleva, Victoria Farrugia Sant'Angelo, Marta García-Solano, Andrea Gualtieri, Enrique Gutiérrez-González, Constanta Huidumac-Petrescu, Jolanda Hyska, Cecily C. Kelleher, Enisa Kujundžić, Valentina Peterkova, Ausra Petrauskiene, Iveta Pudule, Elena Sacchini, Lela Shengelia, Maya Tanrygulyyeva, Radka Taxová Braunerová, Zhamilya Usupova, Katharina Maruszczak, Sergej M. Ostojic, Igor Spiroski, Dragana Stojisavljević, Kremlin Wickramasinghe, João Breda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


Childhood overweight and obesity have significant short- and long-term negative impacts on children's health and well-being. These challenges are unequally distributed according to socioeconomic status (SES); however, previous studies have often lacked standardized and objectively measured data across national contexts to assess these differences. This study provides a cross-sectional picture of the association between SES and childhood overweight and obesity, based on data from 123,487 children aged 6–9 years in 24 countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) European region. Overall, associations were found between overweight/obesity and the three SES indicators used (parental education, parental employment status, and family-perceived wealth). Our results showed an inverse relationship between the prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity and parental education in high-income countries, whereas the opposite relationship was observed in most of the middle-income countries. The same applied to family-perceived wealth, although parental employment status appeared to be less associated with overweight and obesity or not associated at all. This paper highlights the need for close attention to context when designing interventions, as the association between SES and childhood overweight and obesity varies by country economic development. Population-based interventions have an important role to play, but policies that target specific SES groups are also needed to address inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13213
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue numberS6
Early online date28 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • children
  • obesity
  • overweight
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Socioeconomic inequalities in overweight and obesity among 6- to 9-year-old children in 24 countries from the World Health Organization European region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this