Next Article in Journal
Identification of Health Risks of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in China Using the Geographical Detector Technique
Next Article in Special Issue
Economics of Obesity — Learning from the Past to Contribute to a Better Future
Previous Article in Journal
Utilization of Norway’s Emergency Wards: The Second 5 Years after the Introduction of the Patient List System
Previous Article in Special Issue
Yes, The Government Should Tax Soft Drinks: Findings from a Citizens’ Jury in Australia
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(3), 3387-3406;

Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adult Obesity Prevalence in South Africa: A Decomposition Analysis

Health Economics Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
PRICELESS SA, MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 10 March 2014 / Accepted: 11 March 2014 / Published: 21 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity)
Full-Text   |   PDF [264 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]   |  


In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in low and middle income countries. However, there is limited research in these countries showing the prevalence and determinants of obesity. In this study, we examine the socioeconomic inequalities in obesity among South African adults. We use nationally representative data from the South Africa National Income Dynamic Survey of 2008 to: (1) construct an asset index using multiple correspondence analyses (MCA) as a proxy for socioeconomic status; (2) estimate concentration indices (CI) to measure socioeconomic inequalities in obesity; and (3) perform a decomposition analysis to determine the factors that contribute to socioeconomic related inequalities. Consistent with other studies, we find that women are more obese than men. The findings show that obesity inequalities exist in South Africa. Rich men are more likely to be obese than their poorer counterparts with a concentration index of 0.27. Women on the other hand have similar obesity patterns, regardless of socioeconomic status with CI of 0.07. The results of the decomposition analysis suggest that asset index contributes positively and highly to socio-economic inequality in obesity among females; physical exercise contributes negatively to the socio-economic inequality. In the case of males, educational attainment and asset index contributed more to socio-economic inequalities in obesity. Our findings suggest that focusing on economically well-off men and all women across socioeconomic status is one way to address the obesity problem in South Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: obesity; South Africa; inequality obesity; South Africa; inequality

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Alaba, O.; Chola, L. Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adult Obesity Prevalence in South Africa: A Decomposition Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 3387-3406.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top