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Association of Educational Level and Marital Status With Obesity: A Study of Chinese Twins

  • Chunxiao Liao (a1), Wenjing Gao (a1), Weihua Cao (a1), Jun Lv (a1), Canqing Yu (a1), Shengfeng Wang (a1), Chunxiao Li (a1), Zengchang Pang (a2), Liming Cong (a3), Zhong Dong (a4), Fan Wu (a5), Hua Wang (a6), Xianping Wu (a7), Guohong Jiang (a8), Xiaojie Wang (a9), Binyou Wang (a10) and Liming Li (a1)...

Abstract

The prevalence of overweight and obesity is growing rapidly in many countries. Socioeconomic inequalities might be important for this increase. The aim of this study was to determine associations of body mass index (BMI), overweight and obesity with educational level and marital status in Chinese twins. Participants were adult twins recruited through the Chinese National Twin Registry (CNTR), aged 18 to 79 years, and the sample comprised 10,448 same-sex twin pairs. Current height, weight, educational attainment, and marital status were self-reported. Regression analyses and structural equation models were conducted to evaluate BMI, overweight, and obesity associated with educational level and marital status in both sexes. At an individual level, both educational level and marital status were associated with higher BMI and higher risk of being overweight and obesity in men, while in women the effects of educational level on BMI were in the opposite direction. In within-Monozygotic (MZ) twin-pair analyses, the effects of educational level on BMI disappeared in females. Bivariate structural equation models showed that genetic factors and shared environmental confounded the relationship between education and BMI in females, whereas marital status was associated with BMI on account of significant positive unique environmental correlation apart in both sexes. The present data suggested that marital status and BMI were associated, independent of familiar factors, for both sexes of this study population, while common genetic and shared environmental factors contributed to education-associated disparities in BMI in females.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Liming Li, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, 38 XueYuan Rd., HaiDian District, Beijing 100191, China. E-mail: lmlee@vip.163.com.
Wenjing Gao, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, 38 XueYuan Rd., HaiDian District, Beijing 100191, China. E-mail: pkuepigwj@126.com

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