Obesity is a prominent global public health challenge as its prevalence has grown. Even though the increase in prevalence of obesity in Korea has been relatively low, it is expected to continually increase in the next several years, leading to social and economic burdens. This study aimed to assess socioeconomic inequalities in obesity among Korean adults. Using nationally representative survey datasets, the concentration index (CI) and decomposition of the CI were used to capture and quantify obesity-related inequalities from 1998 to 2015. The results suggested that pro-poor inequalities in obesity existed in Korea, indicating that obesity was more concentrated among individuals with lower income. In a gender-stratified model, obesity was more concentrated among women with lower income and men with higher income, showing that the trend and magnitude of inequalities in obesity each vary by gender. The decomposition approach revealed that, over the past 17 years, the main contributors to the existing inequalities were higher education and higher income levels. These findings suggest that comprehensive and multifaceted interventions at the local and national levels should be considered to address the identified income- and education-related barriers with respect to obesity among Korean adults.
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